Although 70 percent of the South Korean public believe North Korea was behind the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan, the proportion is only 60 percent among people between the ages of 20 and 40, a survey suggests.
Marking the 60th anniversary of the Korean War, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security conducted a poll of 1,000 middle and high school students as well as adults about their attitudes to national security and found that 75.4 percent of adults and 73.4 percent of teenagers believed North Korea was responsible for the sinking in March.
The poll shows that younger Koreans, especially those in their 20s, are suspicious of accusations against North Korea. When asked which country they did think attacked the ship, only 64 percent of them said it was North Korea. Some 5.6 percent said the U.S. and some even pointed to Japan (3.3 percent) and China (1.9 percent). Twenty-five percent said they didn't know.
Among those in their 30s, 75.1 percent said North Korea was behind the sinking, and among 40-somethings 69.7 percent. The proportion rose to 85.3 percent among people in their 50s or older. The percentage of those in their 20s who pointed to North Korea was lower than among high school students (75.4 percent).
When asked about the likelihood of another provocation by North Korea, 16.6 percent of teenagers said "very high," compared to 32.3 percent of those in their 50s or older, a more than two-fold difference. But 73.5 percent of adults and 73.4 percent of teenagers said the chances of another provocation are "very high" or "high."
Compared to a survey last year, more people saw North Korea as an enemy, with 60.9 percent as against 38.9 percent last year. Only 35.4 percent in this year's survey described the North as a "cooperative partner" or "positive competitor."
Meanwhile, 36.3 percent of adults and 85.7 percent of teenagers did not know when the Korean War broke out. And 20.4 percent of adults and 36.3 percent of teenagers did not know that North Korea started the war by invading the South.