2/3 of S.Koreans Support Nuclear Armament

Two-thirds of South Koreans believe South Korea should develop its own nuclear weapons in response to the North Korean nuclear threat.

In a poll of 1,006 adults nationwide released by Gallup Korea on Wednesday, 64 percent of respondents supported nuclear weapons for South Korea, compared to 28 percent who opposed it.

Seventy-six percent said the North's nuclear tests are threatening peace on the Korean Peninsula, as against 21 percent who said it is not.

Asked about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, 62 percent consider him bellicose while 10 percent regard him as peaceful. Twenty-seven percent were unsure or gave no answer.

In a similar nationwide poll of 1,000 adults published Wednesday by Research & Research for the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, 66.5 percent of respondents supported South Korea's development of nuclear weapons, while 31.1 percent opposed it.

Nuclear armament found a majority in all age groups except among those in their 20s.

But 59.1 percent are against pre-emptive strikes on the North's nuclear test sites because of the danger of war. Some 36.3 percent argued in favor of such strikes, because they are necessary despite the risk of escalation.

These two polls were conducted on Feb. 13-15.

englishnews@chosun.com / Feb. 21, 2013 09:30 KST