By Tom Gbean | Echo
Tensions rise between North Korea and South Korea along the border.
Unlike most Taylor students who were worried about what to bring to campus this year, some students were worried about whether or not they would make it to school.
Bella Kim, an incoming freshman from South Korea, did not know if she would make it to campus on time, or at all.
"I was scared because the news was buzzing about war between North Korea and South Korea," Kim said. "North Korea said that they were going to start war on Aug. 22 at 5 p.m., the day I was supposed to come here in America."
On August 4, 2015, two South Korean soldiers were maimed by mines that South Korea claims were planted by the North. One soldier lost both of his legs in the explosion and the other lost a leg in a second blast while trying to save his friend.
South Korean military leaders are angry about the attack and wish to return blow for blow. The New York Timesreports that Kim Min-seok, a spokesman for the South Korean military, said of the attack, "This is a clear provocation by the North Korean military. We swear severe retaliation."
Major General of the South Korean Military Koo Hong-mo said at a news briefing that investigations indicated the mines were planted by North Korea. Hong-mo said that the mines resemble a typical North Korean mine that uses wooden boxes.
To retaliate, South Korea began propaganda broadcasts into North Korea using loudspeakers stationed near the border. The broadcast was meant to demoralize North Korean troops.
Angered by South Korea's broadcast, North Korea launched missiles in the direction of the loudspeakers. Although the missiles fell in an uninhabited area and no one was hurt, South Korea fired dozens of shells at the source of the rocket.
While the U.N. Command Council claims that North Korea planted the mines, North Korea claims that they had nothing to do with them. It is a possibility that the mines may be residuals of the Korean War. During the Korean Civil War hundreds of mines were planted by both sides to ward off invaders. The mines that exploded on Aug. 4 were in Paju, a front-line town a few miles north of Seoul.
The command said that it condemns "these violations" of the armistice and wished to have a meeting with generals from the Command Council and North Korea. It is unclear whether the North intends to meet with the Command Council.
Both countries mobilized troops near the border but firing ceased in the evening.
Tension remained high until Aug. 25 when North Korea expressed regrets about wounding the South Korean soldiers, and South Korea agreed to stop its broadcast. However, on Aug. 24 more than 50 North Korean submarines left their bases and disappeared from South Korea's radar.
Even South Koreans who do not live anywhere near the border feel the sting of the conflict.
Freshman Gyung Hun Nam, whose family lives in the southern part of South Korea, just finished his mandatory two-year term in the South Korean military.
Nam was worried about leaving his family behind to come to Taylor.
"Even though my family lives all the way in the south, we are still impacted because my dad would volunteer to fight the North," Nam said. "I almost did not come because I would have had to stay to take care of my family."
Nam also faced criticism from his friends who are in the military.
"When I was coming to go to school, my friends who were still in the military became angry and told me that I was deserting my country and that I had a duty to my people," Nam said.
Despite facing the possibility of war and leaving his family behind, Nam said, "I am happy to be here."