We Tried to Ask Auckland K-Pop Fans For Their Thoughts on Trump-North Korea Tensions
All images by Danny M. Thompson


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We Tried to Ask Auckland K-Pop Fans For Their Thoughts on Trump-North Korea Tensions

“Oh my God, no comment.”

New Zealand has a thriving underground K-Pop scene, fuelled by Youtube dance tutorials and a growing immigrant community. We're also supposedly the safest place to be if the North Korean/US tension turns nuclear. Given that K-Pop has been a weapon of choice in the North-South Korea tensions, with South Korea blasting hits across the border following Pyongyang's nuclear tests, what better place to figure out the latest Trump debacle than a K-Pop party in downtown Auckland? VICE headed along to ask fans of Korean culture about what it is they love about K-Pop, what they thought of Donald Trump, and whether they had any solutions for a bilateral diplomacy crisis.


Rina Chae

What is it that's special about K-Pop?
It came out of nowhere it took over globally the pop culture. It's popular everywhere, not just in Asia but like in America, Europe, Australasia. It's crazy, I think in New Zealand it's a newer thing so people who like K-Pop are more underground than mainstream.

The kids here seem to know every dance move for dozens of songs, why do you think it is that the people here connect with K-Pop? 
It's what K-Pop lovers just do. They watch YouTube the videos, they learn the tutorials and they learn what the artists do on stage. It's just a global thing and people love this stuff right now.

What do you think of Donald Trump?
Oh my god, no comment. I don't want to know Trump. Next.

What do you think of the whole Trump and North Korea tensions?
They better not go there.

Te Hare

Why are you here tonight?
I've been here all day. I was pretty much hyping up part of the community. I was here just playing my music, mucking in and letting the kids play.

Do you know much about K-Pop?
This is my first time seeing a live performance. I've seen it on YouTube, how they do their dances and all that.

Do you have any connections to Korea?
Erm no, not that I know of.

What do you think of Donald Trump?
I think he's a bit immature to be honest. I don't think anyone can change that guy. It's his style of running his country. I'm really scared how North Korea is threatening Australia. I don't know if they're going to threaten us soon. That's what I'm scared of.



Why are you here?
To spread my passion of K-Pop.

What do you love about K-Pop?
Maybe it's because there's a lot of positive vibes along the songs and the music isn't too heavy and it's not too light, so it's a good mix.

Do you have any connections to Korea?
Personally no. I'm a Kiwi-born Chinese but yeah, that doesn't stop me from listening to K-Pop. I mean, if you look at the demographics here there are people from all over the world.

What do you think about Donald Trump?
Um… Interesting. I'm not a politics person myself, the fact that I know his name means that he's done some sort of job well I guess.

What can be done about the current tensions between the US and North Korea?
Well, we're in New Zealand so hopefully it won't affect us.


Why are you here?
We just watched Beauty in the Beast, that's why we're here.

Do you have any connections to Korea?
No, not really.

Any thoughts on Donald Trump?
He's not a likeable person, I tend not to be political, but yeah, I don't like him.


Hey. What are you up to tonight?
I just heard some K-Pop song cause I am from Korea and I just wanted to see what was going on.

Did you know this event was on before you arrived?
No, I was just walking past.

What do you think of Donald Trump?
Actually I joined the debate at Auckland University about Donald Trump. What I usually hear from the news, I don't know, the image that comes to my mind is discrimination to other races and other countries.


What about what's going on with North Korea and Trump at the moment? 
There have always been tensions between North Korea and US.

Do you think Donald Trump might be different from previous presidents?
Yes, he's quite radical. He seems to be different from Obama and I think he will try to control North Korea more.


What's special about K-Pop?
I got into the Korean culture before I got into K-Pop, the culture itself attracted me and then I got into the music. It's not about different culture or different languages, I don't actually differentiate, it's just a music I relate to.

Do you have any connections to Korea?
None whatsoever, I wish!

What do you think of Donald Trump?
He's a unique character, no comment.

What do you think will go down with Trump and North Korea? 
Thankfully we live in New Zealand which is far away, but we are all connected, all countries are connected somehow so hopefully it doesn't go further than witty banter between two egotistical men.

See more photos by Danny here