In the wake of all three networks freaking out over President Trump’s “fire and fury” warning against North Korea, on Thursday’s NBC Today, Chief Global Correspondent Bill Neely reported from Seoul, South Korea and portrayed the people there as being just as afraid of the American president as they were of Kim Jong-un.
“It’s called the world’s most dangerous border and it’s a little more dangerous today. A war of words threatening to reignite the war that never finished here,” Neely ominously began. Moments later, he proclaimed: “People here in South Korea are used to fiery rhetoric from North Korea, but never from an American president, until now.”
Noting that “views here divided,” Neely introduced soundbites of South Korean citizens reacting to Trump’s comments. One women scolded: “I thought it’s very irresponsible and selfish.” Another woman revealed: “I was quite shocked.” Only one man featured agreed the strong words: “I think it’s a good response.”
Neely hyped: “The war of words putting this city on edge....they’d likely be the first casualty.” Turning up the fearmongering to maximum, the reporter concluded: “The unthinkable this morning perhaps just a little closer.”
Following the taped portion of the segment, Neely told co-hosts Matt Lauer and Savannah Guthrie: “Well, South Korea’s president today saying ‘stop.’ Stop ratcheting up the tension. It was a message directed at the north, but it’s one that many in Asia are also privately directing at President Trump.”
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Here is a full transcript of the August 10 report:
7:07 AM ET
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Overnight South Korea’s military jumped into the escalating rhetoric as well, saying it is prepared to sternly punish its neighbor to the north should the regime act on those recent threats. NBC’s Chief Global Correspondent Bill Neely is in Seoul this morning. Bill, good morning to you.
BILL NEELY: Good morning, Savannah. We are 35 miles from North Korea here, and from its missiles. It’s a city that’s been protected for decades by American troops and by America’s nuclear umbrella, but today it’s feeling suddenly vulnerable. South Korea’s president saying today, “Strengthen our defenses now.”
[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Americans in the Danger Zone; 30,000 U.S. Troops Based in Region]
It’s called the world’s most dangerous border and it’s a little more dangerous today. A war of words threatening to reignite the war that never finished here. 30,000 American troops among millions in the firing line. From North Korea, the latest show of defiance, chanting ritual hatred of America and loyalty to Kim Jong-un and the nuclear weapons he says protects them from Donald Trump’s fiery threat. A threat his military calls “a load of nonsense,” warning that only “absolute force” can work on him.
People here in South Korea are used to fiery rhetoric from North Korea, but never from an American president, until now. Views here divided.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: I thought it’s very irresponsible and selfish.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN B: I was quite shocked.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: I think it’s a good response.
NEELY: U.S. troops here exercise with South Korean allies regularly, there’s another one planned later this month. North Korea says these are provocative, South Korea that they’re vital. Its president now calling for a complete overhaul of South Korea’s military. The war of words putting this city on edge. Like the American troops here to protect them, they’ve lived for decades with threats from the north, but in any conflict, they’d likely be the first casualty. The unthinkable this morning perhaps just a little closer.
Well, South Korea’s president today saying “stop.” Stop ratcheting up the tension. It was a message directed at the north, but it’s one that many in Asia are also privately directing at President Trump. Matt, Savannah?
GUTHRIE: Bill Neely in Seoul, thank you.