MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Several thousand Koreans are members of the Korean Association of Memphis, and those people have paid extra close attention to national headlines lately.
"It was really thrilling. I never expected this sudden peace process," Joseph Shin, the pastor of Cordova Korean Baptist Church, said.
"I'm so happy. Actually two days ago, I had a prayer meeting with my church members. We just praised God--singing to Him, and we are really, really thankful," Shin said.
Dr. Martin Kang is a business information technology professor at the University of Memphis
"I identify myself Korean not North Korean or South Korean. I'm proud as a Korean," Kang said.
He said he was surprised and elated to learn that hostages were being released from North Korea.
Next month, President Trump and North Korea President Kim Jong Un are expected to meet in Singapore to talk about the possibility of de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Kang and Shin have family in South Korea and are hopeful of what the outcome could be.
The two stayed away from the politics of the moment, but did mention the recent winter Olympics in South Korea where both countries teamed up to form a unified hockey team, as a possible turning point.
"When they were departing and leaving, they were really sad. North Korean players, they wept, and South Korean players wept, and they kind of see that they are one people," Shin said.
Shin and Kang said older Koreans are more skeptical of North Korea's intentions than younger Koreans. Still they concede that both groups remain upbeat and hopeful for peace.
"I credit for the people, the citizens of South Korea, the people in the North Korea, the citizens in the United States as well," Kang said.