SEOUL, Oct. 2 (Korea Bizwire) — A new survey has found that 6 out of 10 South Korean adults think “unification (between the two Koreas) is necessary.”
The Institute for Peace and Unification Studies (IPUS) at Seoul National University announced that 59.8 percent of respondents answered “unification is necessary” in a survey that quizzed 1,200 male and female adults between the ages of 19 and 74. The survey was conducted between July 12 and August 3.
The survey showed the highest number of people who answered “unification is necessary” since 2007, when 63.8 percent of those surveyed gave the same response.
From 2008 to 2017, the share of “unification is necessary” responses fell in the 51.5 percent to 59 percent range. In this year’s survey, 21.92 percent of respondents said “unification is very necessary”, while 37.83 percent said it was “necessary.”
Respondents in their 20s or 30s saw a greater need for unification with positive answers going up by 12 percentage points to reach 52 percent from 40 percent last year.
Those in their 60s or older, however, answered less favorably than last year, with those viewing unification as “necessary” falling from 67.5 percent to 62.1 percent.
When asked why unification between the two Koreas was necessary, 45.1 percent of respondents said it was because people of both states are “of the same people,” while 31.4 percent said it was a way to “remove the dangers of war between South and North,” and 12.9 percent said that unification was necessary for Korea to join the ranks of other advanced nations.
Of those who did not favor unification, 34.67 percent said “it would be economically burdening”, while 27.67 percent cited “social problems after unification” as a factor in opposing the idea.
The greatest percentage of respondents in 10 years (57.7 percent) agreed that “unification would be helpful to all of South Korean society.”
In addition, 71 percent of respondents viewed North Korea as “a nation to support or to cooperate with,” while 54.7 percent said that North Korea was a party that South Korea “could plausibly hold talks with or cooperate with,” and 77.3 percent said that North Korea “was changing”.
At the same time, however, 56.1 percent did not rule out military provocations by the North.
Regarding the government’s pro-North Korea policy, 64.4 percent answered they were either “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied.”
The satisfaction rate for respondents who identify as being politically progressive or neutral was found to be higher than last year but fell for conservatives.
In terms of economic ties with the North, 57.8 percent and 62 percent answered that operations at Kaesong Industrial Complex should resume and tours to Mount Kumgang be continued, respectively.
Song Young-hoon the Kangwon National University professor who carried out an analysis of the survey, said that the series of summit meetings between South and North Korean may have favorably affected the respondents’ perceived desire for unification.
The details of the study will be announced this afternoon by the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University.
Lina Jang (firstname.lastname@example.org)