Local Korean-American, others talk about hopes for historic Trump, Kim Jong-Un talks

METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - Inside the Korea House Restaurant, the owner expressed a deep interest in what's happening oceans away.

"I'm watching the South Korean news every day," said Jong Nhi Ragusa."

While more than 7,000 miles separate Ragusa from her native Seoul, South Korea, she has not lost touch with the place where she grew up.

"My house is gone anyway, they all changed," said Ragusa of modern South Korea.

She her immediate family moved the United States 40 years after her father took a job here. But her concern has not wavered for relatives still living on the Asian Peninsula. And she worries about the north targeting South Korea if the talks with the U.S. president do not amount to progress.

"If something is not going to be made this time, they're going to threaten South Korea, I know it. That's the first thing they're going to do with South Korea," said Ragusa.

So as she hopes for the best, she's pensive.

"Oh yeah, because I'm still having my relatives over there, so yes, I'm scared," said Ragusa.

She was asked what hopes relatives and friends in South Korea have for the meeting.

"All the young kids, they want them it to get together, you know, they want to reunite it. But like my age or older people, they don't trust them because it's been going on for, you know, 75 years," said Ragusa.

"If Donald Trump thinks he has to leave with a promise to de-nuclearize, I think we're going to be disappointed," said Chris Fettweis, an international relations expert at Tulane University in New Orleans.

He said the world would do well to view the meeting in Singapore as a first step among many.

"There's almost no way that Kim Jong-Un is going to get rid of his nuclear weapons…I think if the president were to go there and expect to get a great, big deal and not get one and storm out, it could be a disaster, it could set things back," said Fettweis.

And in terms of the huge business of international trade, North Korea has few partners.

"They're trading with China, and the Russians have been aiding them in the their nuclear program," said Fettweis.

And he added that North Korea's economy is in a hole.

"Their economy is definitely suffering and there's no way it's going to get better without opening up relationship with the United States and the West, and so from their perspective, this is a great possibility," Fettweis said.

The Honorary Consul General for the Republic of Korea in New Orleans issued the following statement to FOX 8 News:

"As we remember the sacrifice of the veterans of the Korean conflict we must also recognize the meeting of President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un and its significance. All Koreans look to this historic event as a major step to a lasting peace."

And while Ragusa does not think Kim Jong-un will relinquish his nuclear weapons right away, she said it is possible he could do so in coming years.
"I think so, I don't think he has no choice now, I mean, you know," she said.

Copyright 2018 WVUE. All rights reserved.