Less Than Half of Enlisted Soldiers Consider N.Korea the Enemy
A majority of professional military officers staunchly think of North Korea as the enemy, but among their conscripted men the proportion is less than half.
According to figures from the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses published by Saenuri lawmaker Kim Hack-yong on Tuesday, 64.6 percent of officers regard North Korea as the enemy but only 47.4 percent of enlisted servicemen.
Hankook Research polled 1,620 officers and 1,928 enlisted servicemen for the institute last year.
In a similar survey in 2014, the numbers were closer with 56 percent of officers and 52.5 percent of conscripts thinking of the North as the enemy.
The gap between the two groups also shows in their assessment of the security situation, where 50.7 percent of officers but only 36.9 percent of conscripts said the situation is precarious.
And 60.1 percent of officers but just 36.5 percent of enlisted men believe the security threat will grow. Some 86.8 percent of officers believe there is a chance of skirmishes between the two Koreas, compared to 68.5 percent of conscripts.
Forty-three percent of officers and 29.8 percent of enlisted men thought there is a possibility of full-scale war.
Meanwhile, enlisted men also took a dim view of compulsory military service, with 33.6 percent saying they wanted to avoid it if possible and 11.5 percent saying conscription is wrong. Some 49.8 percent said serving in the military is their duty.