BRISTOL, Va. - There was an unsettling report on Capitol Hill today concerning North Korea.
The director of U.S. intelligence told lawmakers that he believes North Korea, with its nuclear weapons and missile programs, stands as a serious threat to the U.S. and eastern Asia nations.
Local Korean War veteran and area businessman Bobby Griffin says this is a scary situation.
Griffin joined the Korean War was a tank driver at the age of 18. "I quit school to join the Army and three months after I joined the Army. I was sitting on the frontlines in Korea being shot at," said Griffin.
In 1974 Griffin returned to the once war-torn country. "Twenty-one years later I didn't recognize it at all, it has built back," he said. "It is one of the most beautiful countries in the world now."
Griffin has traveled to South Korea many times over the years and has close friends there. He often fears for their safety, especially now that the Communist regime in the north has announced it is completely scrapping the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War and has maintained relative peace on the peninsula for more than half a century. "If you look at the history, it's up and down. North Korea could come back next week, call everything off, say 'we want to be friends with you' and you can't believe a thing he says," Griffin said, referring to North Korean leader Kim Jung Un.
Kim is reportedly urging his front-line troops to be on "maximum alert" for a potential war following last week's UN Security Council vote imposing new sanctions over Pyongyang's February 12 nuclear test.
"He's trying to impress the older people with how tough he is and that he's going to rule the country. He [thinks] he's going to take over the whole world," said Griffin.
Griffin calls the people of the south industrial and hardworking, and he doesn't want to see them face the wrath of the north. "It would be a shame to see all of that destroyed," he said.
Griffin says his grandsons are planning a trip to South Korea in May and he's hoping to go with them. But, he says, if things are as unsettled as they are now, he would not feel comfortable traveling there.