The latest round of nuclear conflict between North Korea and America has the outside world concerned, but one South Korean expat in Rotorua says he's heard the threat too many times before.

"I'm not very concerned at the moment, we've all seen this before," Hakrae Lee said.

"Already our people are in a terrible situation, under pressure from China and America."

Mr Lee grew up in South Korea, but has been living and working in Rotorua for the last 38 years.


"At school we were taught about North Korea as a communist country," he said.

"When I was little I definitely thought they were dangerous."

Earlier this week North Korean leader Kim Jon Un threatened the US with a "super-mighty pre-emptive strike".

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has threatened the US with a 'super-mighty preemptive strike' Photo/File A_200215SPLKIM.JPG
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has threatened the US with a 'super-mighty preemptive strike' Photo/File A_200215SPLKIM.JPG

"A lot of my family still live in South Korea, but they aren't concerned by this," Mr Lee said.

"I was in the South Korean army for almost three years and I really enjoyed it. Part of that was a focus on North Korea as our enemy, because we didn't know what could happen."

Mr Lee said South Korea had been threatened too many times for him to take the latest threats seriously.

"Every year they [North Korea] celebrate their birthday, this year was the 105th," he said.

"Every year they decide to show off to the world and they threaten South Korea. We'd rather just have peace."


US President Donald Trump has taken a hard line with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Mr Lee said that may only make things worse.

"I think possibly Donald Trump is teasing North Korea too much, maybe he's the one that is most scared," he said.

"When you push a man too much he may explode, nobody has pushed North Korea hard enough for them to actually follow through yet."

Mr Lee said he was more concerned about South Korea's relationship with China.

"South Korea is being bullied, stuck between China and America," he said.

South Korea hosting a US missile defence system had created tensions with China, he said.

"It's our business and economy that are getting hurt," Mr Lee said.

"Financially there has been a huge cost to South Korea. China have stopped tourism and business into the country. Even the children are protesting to save South Korean products."

Rotorua dairy owner Bosun Yoo agreed China was of greater concern to him.

"When I was in middle school, well all the way through school in Korea, we were taught about North Korea and South Korea and about the war," he said.

They weren't 'the enemy' though, South Korean people helped North Korean people, sending them food and clothes."

Mr Yoo said the leader of North Korea had always been making threats.

"People aren't exactly scared, but it is definitely something always on the mind of South Koreans," he said.

"When I watch the news I worry, when he says he's going to be testing missiles, but it's just not worth worrying about. North Korea has always made this situation, right now China worries us much more."

Source: Associated Press. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has made an appearance at an immense military parade celebrating the anniversary of the 105th birthday of his late grandfather and North Korea founder Kim Il Sung.