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Tensions Have Cambodians in South Korea Paying Attention

Cambodians in Seoul, South Korea, greet Mr. Kem Sokha, head the opposition Human Rights Party, during his visit there in late March 2013 to garner support ahead of the upcoming national elections. (Courtesy of Touch Vibol)
WASHINGTON DC - Cambodian students in South Korea say they are paying close attention to increased tensions on the peninsula.

The withdrawal of North Korean workers from a jointly operated industrial site neighboring South Korea, along with continued rhetoric and the possibility of a nuclear or missile test, all have Cambodians there worried about the prospect of war, said Vantharith Oum, head of the Cambodian Students Association in Korea.

Around 400 students and thousands of workers from Cambodia live in South Korea.

“I told my parents that life goes on as usual in Seoul, although [students] are aware of the tense situation and are aware of shelters they need to go if something happens,” he said in a Skype interview.

No advisory for Cambodians in South Korea has been issued by the embassy there, he said, but he hoped that during an upcoming Khmer New Year party next week, more information will be available.