Schoolkids More Aware of N.Korean Threat

      July 03, 2012 13:47

      Youngsters in South Korea are growing more aware of the threat posed by North Korea, a survey suggests. The reasons for the waning support for North Korea in the South appear to be the death of former leader Kim Jong-il, the hereditary succession by his son Jong-un and political scandals involving leftwing South Korean politicians.

      The Chosun Ilbo conducted a joint poll with the Korean Federation of Teachers’ Associations of 1,498 elementary, junior and high school students in Seoul in late June and found that 91 percent are now persuaded that North Korea sank the Navy corvette Cheonan and was at fault for shelling Yeonpyeong Island in 2010.

      This is a massive increase from a mere 64.4 percent in a similar survey in late 2010 who believed North Korea sank the Cheonan and 57.7 percent who blamed North Korea for shelling Yeonpyeong Island without provocation. At that time, 16 percent said "unnecessary attacks" by the South prompted the North to retaliate.

      The latest survey also shows that 78.3 percent of youngsters know North Korea triggered the Korean War in 1950 by invading South Korea, up from 73.9 percent in 2010.

      Asked how South Korea should respond to another attack from North Korea, 40.1 percent said it should use all of its military power, while 34 percent said Seoul it should retaliate in kind. Only 24.4 percent said the South should refrain from a military response.

      But only 66 percent pointed to North Korea as the South's main enemy, down 10 percentage points from the 2010 survey. The others named Japan (12.1 percent), China (8.9 percent) and the U.S. (8.5 percent).

      Asked about what comes to mind first when they think of North Korea, 47.2 percent picked "rapprochement and cooperation" from a list, 33.2 percent "hostility and caution," and 11.9 percent were not interested.

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