Everyone is freaaaaking out about the "elevated tensions on the peninsula." Everyone, that is, except the people living on the peninsula in question. I have literally not heard a single Korean mention the situation, and life is going on business-as-usual here. The media reports are blowing this situation up, but there is virtually no indication of "imminent war" here. So, in response to the dozens of emails and messages asking the same question, I have an answer...
and that answer is: No, I am not leaving the country.
There is nothing indicating that there is an immediate danger or risk being here. The embassy (who emails me regularly to update me on any travel restrictions or warnings), has not urged Americans to leave. In fact, NO embassies (US or otherwise) are recommending evacuation. The only government that has even mentioned this is, in fact, North Korea itself. And, frankly, why should I trust them? Since when has the most repressive regime in the world had my best interests in mind, as a citizen of their stated "mortal enemy"? Exactly...
Rather than trusting the almost hourly reports on any of the various media outlets, I have been reading statements made by North Korea experts who state that there is no indication of the North Korean government mobilizing any of their million+ soldiers in preparation for war.
And in fact, if you think about it logically, war just doesn't make sense for Kim Jong-un, who has everything to lose and virtually nothing to gain. If he makes a move, he will almost certainly be decimated, and quickly. His regime will fall and there will most likely be reunification. So... why would he risk that? I mean, he's certainly not concerned about improving conditions for his people, as he's already starved off millions of them, and detained and imprisoned many more.
The most likely explanation is that this rhetoric has 2 desired ends: bolstering of support for Kim Jong-un by his people, and to get international aid in exchange for *not* blowing up the free world. Well, I have to say that even if it has been contributing to the tensions, I support the South Korean government's hardline approach to the situation.
It DOES look like North Korea will launch a test missile this week, but that doesn't mean war necessarily.
So, really, I'm not too worried. Of course, if anything actually happened, I would either be dead or on the next flight out. So to everyone who is wondering, worried, or wishing I'd come home, please don't worry (or try not to!)
PS: I'm not a journalist, just an observer. This is all opinion. War could break out tomorrow; I have no idea...