February 09, 2010 08:31
South Koreans believe that the Seoul-Washington alliance has become significantly stronger since the inauguration of the Lee Myung-bak administration, polls suggest.
In the latest poll of 1,261 adults conducted by Gallup Korea from Sept. 9 to Oct. 16 last year for Korea National Defense University, 49.9 percent of respondents said the Seoul-Washington alliance was strong. This was a rise from 34.3 percent compared to a similar poll in 2008, the first year of Lee's presidency. By contrast in 2007, the final year of the Roh Moo-hyun presidency, the figure was a mere 19.3 percent.
In 2007, 40.8 percent of respondents said the alliance was "awkward," but the ratio dropped to 19.5 percent in 2008 and 12.2 percent in 2009.
A majority of respondents consider the U.S. the most important foreign country to South Korea's national security. The percentage rose from 72.3 percent in 2007 to 85.9 percent in 2009.
In multiple answers to a question about factors threatening national security, 49.7 percent in the latest poll cited the military threat from North Korea, followed by 47.2 percent for regime instability in the North and 28.1 percent for global recession or economic friction.
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