Nearly 70 percent of the South Koreans support limited military actions in response to North Korea's shelling of Yeonpyeong Island last Tuesday. This contrasts starkly with the mood in April, after North Korea sank the Navy corvette Cheonan, when less than 30 percent said they support military action.
Although in April roughly equal numbers thought the government reaction to the Cheonan sinking was appropriate or inappropriate, now those who say the government's response to the Yeonpyeong attack was inadequate outnumber those who think it was enough three times. The swing seems to indicate disillusionment with the government's response to a series of military provocations by the North.
In a nationwide poll by Hankook Research for the East Asia Institute of 800 adults on Saturday, only 24.7 percent said the government is responding adequately to the attack, while 72 percent disagreed. Public opinion has chilled toward the government since April, when in a similar EAI survey about the Cheonan sinking, 41.2 percent approved of the government's response and 47.5 percent did not.
The top government mistakes respondents ticked were lack of a risk management system and the lukewarm nature of the reaction with 36.5 and 23.8 percent. Some 68.6 percent said limited military action against North Korea is desirable.
The general sense of security was the lowest since the inauguration of the Lee Myung-bak administration, with 81.5 percent saying they feel insecure, up from 66.8 percent in April.
Meanwhile, a Research & Research poll for the Asan Institute for Policy Studies on Saturday also asked 1,000 adults nationwide what they thought of the government response. Some 65.7 percent viewed it negatively and just 25.9 percent positively. Asked who is to be held responsible for the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island, 87.3 percent said North Korea and 12.7 percent the South Korean government. A whopping 80.3 percent agreed that the military should have responded more strongly.