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Korea, big powers positive on inter-Korean summit: joint survey

Korea, big powers positive on inter-Korean summit: joint survey

Posted December. 04, 2000 20:11,   


Peoples of the United States, Japan and China viewed June¡¯s inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang in a very positive light, according to a survey conducted jointly by Korea and Japan.

In particular, more than half of the Japanese questioned think that South and North Korea will be eventually be reunified.

Korea¡¯s Dong-A Ilbo and Japan¡¯s Asahi Shimbun conducted the poll among members of the public in Korea, the U.S., Japan and China in October and November.

According to the survey, 87 percent of Koreans felt that the summit between President Kim Dae-Jung and North Korean National Defense Commission Chairman Kim Jong-Il was a good thing, a sentiment that was shared by 87 percent of Japanese, 80 percent of Americans and 76 percent of Chinese.

Asked if South and North Korea would be reunified, 50 percent of the Japanese and 63 percent of the Chinese said yes. What is noteworthy is that the number of Japanese who foresee the reunification of two Koreas sharply increased to 50 percent from a mere 29 percent in 1997. In Korea, 73 percent of those questioned also predicted that the two Koreas would be rejoined.

Asked if the inter-Korean talks meant there was virtually no chance of another Korean War, 59 percent of Koreans, 58 percent of Americans and 50 percent of the Japanese disagreed, showing that the fear of a war is still high.

Koreans cited North Korea (54 percent) as the country from which they feel the strongest military threat, but also chose it (38 percent) as the country with which they want to forge closer relations. This indicates that South Koreans are still alert to the threat posed by the North, but remain hopeful of further improvements in inter-Korean relations.

As for Chairman Kim Jong-Il, 55 percent of Koreans were found to have a good impression, a feeling shared by 34 percent of Americans. Roughly 26 percent of Americans and 51 percent of Japanese said they had a bad impression of the North Korean leader.

Meanwhile, 39 percent of Koreans said that relations between Korea and Japan are in good shape, compared to 16 percent in 1997. In comparison, 58 percent of the Japanese saw the two neighbors' ties as positive, compared to 26 percent who did not think so. The number of the Japanese with positive views increased by 25 percent from 33 percent in 1997.

Na Sun-Mi sunny60@donga.com