Koreans place the least priority on the alliance with the U.S. when it comes to ensuring lasting peace on the peninsula, a survey shows. The survey was conducted by the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs to mark the 60th anniversary of the armistice that ended the Korean War.
Bolstering awareness of national security was top of the list with 47.7 percent, followed by cooperation with North Korea with 46.8 percent, and strengthening self-defense with 44.6 percent.
Next came achieving diplomatic balance with the U.S., China, Russia and Japan with 27.1 percent. Only 20.4 percent said the most important thing is strengthening the alliance with Washington.
"Anti-American sentiment has worsened" since the deaths of two schoolgirls under a U.S. military vehicle in 2002, said Yoon Duk-min at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy. "It seems that the rise of China and the need to strengthen self-defense impacted public consensus."
Asked what they think about the situation on the Korean Peninsula since the ceasefire in 1953, 78.7 percent said the threat of renewed warfare remains. Some 15.7 percent said they feel the war is virtually over, and only 4.2 percent said the war has formally ended.
Some 45.7 percent of the respondents forecast that the two Koreas will remain divided for the next 20 years or more. Cited next were 10 years (25 percent), 15 years (10.2 percent) and five years (6.6 percent).
Among those in their 20s, the biggest group of 23.2 percent said they know little or nothing about the Korean War, compared to only 7.8 percent in their 30s and 7.7 percent in their 40s.
The survey was conducted by Gallup Korea for the ministry between Nov. 15 and 24 among 1,020 adults.