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Nearly 70% back dialogue with N. Korea

By Yi Whan-woo

Nearly seven out of 10 South Koreans want the next government to maintain peaceful relations with North Korea instead of strengthening sanctions, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The survey, conducted by the Korea Society Opinion Institute, showed 68.6 percent of respondents want the next government to resume exchanges with the North based on regional peace.

Only 26.5 percent said Seoul should maintain its hard-line policy toward Pyongyang. The remaining 4.9 percent either refused to answer or said they had no opinion about inter-Korean relations.

The survey was conducted via phone on 1,021 adults nationwide on Friday and Saturday, and had a 3.1 percent margin of error.

Among the 68.6 percent who backed improved inter-Korean ties, nine out of them said South Korea should reconsider peaceful relations with the North if it continues nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

Another 9.8 percent of them said peace should be maintained under any circumstances.

Among the 26.5 percent advocating the hard-line policy, 14.9 percent called on pursuing such a policy alongside humanitarian aid and other peaceful measures should be taken "occasionally."

The remaining 11.6 percent said the government should remain hawkish toward North Korea.

By age, 77.5 percent of those in their 40s advocated being dovish, along with 72.1 percent in their 30s, 71.9 percent in their 50s, 64.3 percent in their 20s, and 59 percent in their 60s or older.

Some 77.3 percent of those who viewed themselves as liberals wanted peaceful inter-Korean relations, as did 73.7 percent of ultra-liberals, 74.4 percent of centrists, 68.9 percent of the conservatives.

But 52 percent of the purported ultra-conservatives insisted on taking a stern stance on Pyongyang.

Among those advocating peaceful ties with the repressive state were 79.3 percent of Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) supporters, 72.7 percent of the Justice Party supporters, 66.6 percent of the Bareun Party and 64.8 percent of the People's Party supporters.

A total of 55.2 percent of the conservative Liberty Korea Party (LKP) supporters wanted hawkish measures against North Korea.

Meanwhile, 36.9 percent of the total respondents said the DPK's Moon Jae-in will be the most capable of handling issues on security and foreign affairs among the presidential candidates.

Some 18.6 percent supported Ahn Cheol-soo of the People's Party; 11.6 percent, Hong Joon-pyo of the LKP; 9.6 percent, Yoo Seong-min of the Bareun Party; and 3.1 percent, Sim Sang-jung of the Justice Party.









By Yi Whan-woo

Nearly seven out of 10 South Koreans want the next government to maintain peaceful relations with North Korea instead of strengthening sanctions, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The survey, conducted by the Korea Society Opinion Institute, showed 68.6 percent of respondents want the next government to resume exchanges with the North based on regional peace.

Only 26.5 percent said Seoul should maintain its hard-line policy toward Pyongyang. The remaining 4.9 percent either refused to answer or said they had no opinion about inter-Korean relations.

The survey was conducted via phone on 1,021 adults nationwide on Friday and Saturday, and had a 3.1 percent margin of error.

Among the 68.6 percent who backed improved inter-Korean ties, nine out of them said South Korea should reconsider peaceful relations with the North if it continues nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

Another 9.8 percent of them said peace should be maintained under any circumstances.

Among the 26.5 percent advocating the hard-line policy, 14.9 percent called on pursuing such a policy alongside humanitarian aid and other peaceful measures should be taken "occasionally."

The remaining 11.6 percent said the government should remain hawkish toward North Korea.

By age, 77.5 percent of those in their 40s advocated being dovish, along with 72.1 percent in their 30s, 71.9 percent in their 50s, 64.3 percent in their 20s, and 59 percent in their 60s or older.

Some 77.3 percent of those who viewed themselves as liberals wanted peaceful inter-Korean relations, as did 73.7 percent of ultra-liberals, 74.4 percent of centrists, 68.9 percent of the conservatives.

But 52 percent of the purported ultra-conservatives insisted on taking a stern stance on Pyongyang.

Among those advocating peaceful ties with the repressive state were 79.3 percent of Democratic Party of Korea (DPK) supporters, 72.7 percent of the Justice Party supporters, 66.6 percent of the Bareun Party and 64.8 percent of the People's Party supporters.

A total of 55.2 percent of the conservative Liberty Korea Party (LKP) supporters wanted hawkish measures against North Korea.

Meanwhile, 36.9 percent of the total respondents said the DPK's Moon Jae-in will be the most capable of handling issues on security and foreign affairs among the presidential candidates.

Some 18.6 percent supported Ahn Cheol-soo of the People's Party; 11.6 percent, Hong Joon-pyo of the LKP; 9.6 percent, Yoo Seong-min of the Bareun Party; and 3.1 percent, Sim Sang-jung of the Justice Party.









Yi Whan-woo yistory@koreatimes.co.kr


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