SEOUL, Oct. 30 (Korea Bizwire) — Nine out of 10 North Korean defectors believed inter-Korean unification was very much needed when they lived in the North, according to a poll released Tuesday.
The poll, based on interviews with 87 defectors, by the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University, showed 90.8 percent of respondents saying that they thought unification was very necessary during their stay in the North. The interviews were conducted in one-to-one meetings between June and August.
In a similar survey held last year, 95.5 percent gave such an answer.
Factoring in that an additional 4.6 percent said they considered unification somewhat necessary, almost all North Korean defectors wished for unification before defecting to the South, the institute said.
Asked why unification is necessary, 41.4 percent pointed to South and North Koreans being of the same ethnicity, followed by prosperity of the North Korean people (29.9 percent) and elimination of war threat (13.8 percent), it said.
Ninety-three percent of the defectors said North Korean people are very much in need of unification.
Asked to pick a system of government, 32.2 percent supported South Korea’s current system, while 29.9 percent favored a compromise of the two Koreas’ systems. Only 5.7 percent said they prefer North Korea’s current system.
Asked if they thought unification would be possible while they were in the North, 57.5 percent said they believed unification to be impossible, the poll found. In last year’s poll, 55.3 percent gave such an answer.
Twenty-one percent of the defectors said unification is possible within a decade, while 13.8 percent said unification is possible within 30 years.
“The survey found that the North Korean people have high aspirations for unification. Many of them seem to prefer a mix of South and North Korean systems as the North’s economy has improved under the Kim Jong-un regime,” said a researcher at the Seoul institute.
“Watching the Kim Jong-un regime hold on to power despite various political and economic difficulties, the North Korean people seem to believe the North’s regime won’t collapse easily. More people in the North now think that unification will take time,” said the researcher.