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North Korea's Warnings More Boring Than Alarming To Those In South

Tue, April 9, 2013 11:15am

Story by Mark Memmott




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Two women sit at a cafe Monday in central Seoul, South Korea. While North Korea has been issuing threats on a daily basis, many South Koreans say they're more bored than worried.

There were more ominous-sounding words from North Korea on Tuesday. Pyongyang warned tourists and foreign companies in South Korea to leave for their own safety because a nuclear war may be imminent.

It was the latest in a string of threats in recent days.

From Seoul, NPR's Frank Langfitt tells Morning Edition and our Newscast Desk that most South Koreans view what's being said by the North as bluster and a negotiating tactic.

"People here think the verbal attacks are designed to bolster North Korea's new, inexperienced leader, Kim Jong Un, as he tries to develop support at home," Frank reports.

One man at a coffee shop in Seoul told Frank that after decades of such rhetoric he is "immune to this ... I'm not scared of them at all." And according to Frank, there are no signs of nervousness in the South Korean capital. You would see "more panic in Washington, D.C., before a snowstorm," he said on Morning Edition.

South Korea's Yonhap News Agency adds that "North Korea's attempt to incite fears of war among foreigners in South Korea won't work, Seoul's presidential spokeswoman said Tuesday. ... Kim Haing said the warning is seen as psychological warfare."

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