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Survey: Four-fifths of Koreans want inter-Korean summit

Posted October. 13, 2014 04:23,   


In a survey, eight out of 10 Koreans have responded that President Park Geun-hye needs to hold a South-North Korean summit. In addition, nearly 50 percent of them said they are not satisfied with the current government’s inter-Korean policy. More than 60 percent of Koreans said the Mount Kumgang tour program, which has been suspended since a South Korean woman was killed there in July 2008, should resume.

This was revealed by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies and the Dong-A llbo, which consigned the researching company Research&Research to conduct over three-time questionnaires on North Korea and unification issues. The first questionnaire was completed between Sept. 4 and Sept. 6, second was between Sept. 7 and Sept. 10, and the third was between Oct. 6- Oct. 8, immediately following the visit by the Incheon Asian Games and three senior North Korean officials including Hwang Pyong So, the top political officer for the Korean People`s Army.

Among the respondents, more than 80 percent (first round 81.2 percent; second round 81.7 percent) said an inter-Korean summit is necessary. This can be interpreted as a demand for President Park to proactively push for a summit to create a breakthrough in inter-Korean relations. Given that the dispute arose in 2007 when the late President Roh Moo-hyun held an inter-Korean summit with just five months left of his term, many observers say next year is the right time for President Park since it is her third year of her term.

On the inter-Korean policy of the current administration, more respondents (44.7 percent at the first questionnaire; 47.7 percent at the third questionnaire) said they were not satisfied, in contrast with those who said they were satisfied (41.7 percent at the second questionnaire, 32.2 percent at the third questionnaire). It is notable that after the trio of North Koreans visited South Korea, respondents who said they were satisfied went down by 9.5 percentage points.

Opinions calling for a lifting of punitive sanctions (31.5 percent) following the sinking of the Cheonan naval corvette in 2010 surpassed those who were against (23.5 percent) by a small margin. Yet most of them said they were not sure, at 44.4 percent. However, an overwhelming majority said it is essential for the North to change in stance if it wants economic aid to North Korea. This was a slight rise from the 67.8 percent in the first questionnaire, to the 71.2 percent in the third one. Three out of four respondents said the Kim Jong-un regime would not stabilize.

This survey was conducted of 1,000 adult men and women over the age of 19, and was made in the form of wired and wireless telephone interviews using the random digit dialing (RDD) method. It has a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.