TORONTO — North Korea's latest missile test has sparked mixed emotions among Canada's Korean community, with some expressing alarm at what they deem an escalation of the country's military efforts while others remain unfazed.
Lisa Pak, who lives in west Toronto, said this week's test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile — North Korea's first — has left her on edge.
"They may be tremors before an explosion," said Pak, who is helping lead an effort to free a Mississauga, Ont. pastor detained in North Korea.
"At one point, it might not just be threats."
The test, which took place Tuesday as the United States celebrated Independence Day, marked a major step forward in North Korea's plan to develop a nuclear missile capable of reaching any location in the U.S.
It has drawn the censure of both American and Canadian officials, who have called it a threat to international peace and security, and led both the U.S. and South Korea to stage ballistic missile firing drills in response.
Still, some Korean-Canadians say they aren't rattled by North Korea's recent show of force, which they consider business as usual.
Haeyeon Joo, 27, said she has become "desensitized" after years of missile tests.
"North Korea has been doing missile tests for years," said Yoo, who immigrated to Toronto from South Korea in 1999 and now lives in New York City.
"It's not new, sadly. It's just that this time they were successful."
Choo Yosep, a 30-year-old Toronto-born realtor who visits relatives back home every so often, echoed that sentiment, suggesting the threat posed by this week's test has been overblown.
"Yes, [North Korea] has had their first long-range missile test, but there's still a lot of engineering and science that they have to get through to execute what I would consider to be a serious threat," Yosep said.
"My parents are in regular contact with family back home. They are not panicking."
Pak said she fears tensions will continue to rise as long as the North Korean regime feels its power is being threatened.
"How do we change the rhetoric so that North Korea doesn't feel like they need to have nuclear weapons to survive? I think that is very much their thinking pattern, and we can't change that," Pak said.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has said Canada will continue its international efforts to resolve the rapid growth of North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
-- With files from The Associated Press
Jennifer Cheng, The Canadian Press