Koreatown celebrates historic Trump-Kim summit

It was the handshake many Korean Americans never thought they'd see in their lifetime -- one between a US president a...

Posted: Jun 12, 2018 12:26 PM
Updated: Jun 12, 2018 12:26 PM

It was the handshake many Korean Americans never thought they'd see in their lifetime -- one between a US president and a North Korean leader.

For dozens who gathered in the heart of Koreatown in Los Angeles, the historic meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, brought cheers and tears. This was more than a handshake -- but a lifetime of waiting to see these two countries share a stage.

Spectators gathered at a Koreatown restaurant on Monday night, raised their beer high and chanted, "Peace! Korea!" They waved pictures of a unified Korean peninsula and celebrated.

Amid the applause and toasts though, there was also a sense of caution.

History beckons for Trump and Kim

Decades of tumultuous political relations have left some Korean Americans jaded and wary. The war 65 years ago, divided the peninsula and also cleaved families on other sides of the DMZ, leaving many with little idea of whether their relatives are still alive in North Korea.

Tony Kim, a LA resident, was visibly emotional watching the summit unfold.

"This is a historic event. In my lifetime, I didn't think I'd live to see this day," Kim said. "This was a different narrative. This is not something we'd ever expect. But I'm a little skeptical and trying to taper my expectation, but it's a good first step to see this actually happening."

He said that his parents were from North Korea and migrated south during the Korean War.

"Having family back there, people I've never met... North Korea has always been this stain in reality that we have to content with as Koreans," Kim said.

Over beer and diner food, about 30 spectators watched the summit at the restaurant, Pipers.

When they saw Trump and Kim shake hands, some burst into tears. Insook Lee was one of them.

"It's been too long -- 70 years separated," she said. "It's a real good first step towards peace on the Korean peninsula."

Others had questions about whether this was really a pathway to reunification between the two Koreas and would denuclearization happen? But on Monday night, many gave way to hope.

James An also choked back emotions.

"I just had a baby," he said. "She's Korean-American. I'd love for her to visit Korea, as one country... It breaks my heart. I'm breaking down when I talk about it. If not for us, do it for our kids."

"I'd love to see our country unified again."

New York Coronavirus Cases

County data is updated nightly.

Cases: 2112129

Reported Deaths: 53614
CountyCasesDeaths
Kings28090510462
Queens2775889966
Suffolk2012193401
Nassau1837873178
Bronx1837526584
New York1384504508
Westchester1297372291
Erie896141809
Richmond751121842
Monroe690691113
Orange48354843
Rockland46969963
Onondaga38980678
Dutchess29488445
Albany24718357
Oneida22641516
Niagara20048374
Broome18637366
Saratoga15393168
Ulster13916257
Schenectady13209205
Rensselaer11239143
Putnam1062293
Chautauqua8959145
Chemung7776136
Oswego762792
Ontario740893
Steuben6960145
Sullivan668376
St. Lawrence664997
Cayuga633892
Jefferson615668
Wayne578671
Cattaraugus572391
Genesee5438124
Herkimer5196109
Clinton483933
Madison456589
Livingston452460
Fulton442492
Tompkins435152
Montgomery4254127
Columbia4068104
Cortland392963
Tioga383663
Warren366757
Wyoming358453
Allegany355987
Chenango350476
Otsego346447
Greene340579
Washington316455
Orleans312183
Lewis281136
Franklin256312
Delaware238638
Seneca201156
Schoharie169417
Essex159326
Yates117926
Schuyler108014
Hamilton3132
Unassigned9516
Out of NY0250
Utica
Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 55°
Feels Like: 57°
Oneonta
Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 54°
Herkimer
Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 57°
Old Forge
Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 57°
WKTV Radar
WKTV Temperatures
WKTV Severe Weather
Senior Send-Off brought to you by Herkimer College
18 Facets of Summer Photo Contest brought to you by Herkimer Diamond Mines
Looking for work or looking to hire? Check out the WKTV Job Fair!
Alivana Ready for Summer Giveaway
Saluting Those Who Are Proud 2 Serve