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‘20-somethings more conservative than older generations’

‘20-somethings more conservative than older generations’

Posted December. 11, 2010 13:23,   


Contrary to popular perceptions, 20-somethings in South Korea support conservative agenda such as the free trade agreement with the U.S. and a tougher stance toward North Korea.

In a survey jointly conducted by The Dong-A Ilbo and the Korea Research Center on the North’s artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island, people in their 20s urged the strongest stance again Pyongyang among respondents in all age groups.

On national security, 61.2 percent of those in their 20s said the South should induce “fundamental changes” in the North through strong sanctions. By comparison, just 50.8 percent in their 30s, 57.8 percent of those in their 40s, and 57.9 percent of those in their 50s supported a hard-line stance.

On providing humanitarian assistance to the North, 43.5 percent of 20-somethings expressed opposition to any type of aid that could be used to maintain the Kim Jong Il government, higher than that of people in their 30s (35 percent) and 40s (32.9 percent).

A 26-year-old woman said, “The Yeonpyeong incident was more severe than the earlier torpedo attack on the Cheonan naval ship because it was a direct attack on South Korean territory and cost civilian lives. Many of my friends say the North went too far.”

A recent survey by polling agency RealMeter showed that 49.3 percent of the respondents in their 20s supported South Korea’s ratification of the free trade agreement with the U.S., more than double those who oppose the deal (21.6 percent) and second only to 52.8 percent for people aged 50 or older.

The agreement had support of 37.5 percent among people in their 30s and 32 percent of those in their 40s.

“In the past, people in their 20s and 30s showed similar perceptions of society,” said Won We-hoon, an executive at the Korea Research Center. “But 20-somethings began to show a conservative trend about six or seven years ago. They are also flexible in making judgments about issues rather than resorting to ideological thinking.”

An official at the Strategy and Finance Ministry said 20-somethings, who suffer from high unemployment, seem positive about the free trade deal because they believe it will help boost economic growth and create jobs.