Over Half of S.Korean Schoolkids Want Reunification

More than half of schoolkids and teachers here believe that reunification between the two Koreas is necessary and worry that North Korea could start another war.

The unification and education ministries surveyed 116,000 students and 3,130 teachers across the nation, and 57.7 percent said North Korea is highly likely to start a war again.

It is the first state-level survey conducted after a special committee formed by President Park Geun-hye in February to prepare for reunification .

Some 53 percent of the respondents said reunification is necessary, 26.1 percent desirable and 19.7 percent unnecessary.

Asked why it is necessary, 25.8 percent said to prevent war, 24.7 percent to strengthen national power and 18.9 percent because North and South Koreans are the same race.

Among those who said reunification is unnecessary, 45.4 percent cited the economic burden and social chaos that South Korea would have to bear, 33.7 percent their aversion to the North Korean regime and 7.7 percent said the two Koreas have drifted too far apart and have little or nothing in common.

A majority viewed North Koreans as beneficiary of aid (39.7 percent) or partner (33 percent), while only 11.8 percent viewed it as the enemy.

Also, 45.7 percent believe reunification would bring positive social change, while only 34.1 percent thought the changes would be negative and 18.3 percent felt things would remain pretty much the same.

Asked about the timeframe for reunification, 31 percent guessed it would happen in 20 years or later, 29.8 percent within the next 10 to 20 years and 4.9 percent within five years.

A government official said classes on reunification have been offered in all schools across the nation since 2013 in order to raise awareness of the issue.

englishnews@chosun.com / Aug. 28, 2014 11:12 KST