March 31, 2016 13:05
Seven out of every 10 South Koreans are willing to fight if a war breaks out, according to a survey.
The Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs surveyed 1,000 people over 15 in November of last year and found that 72.1 percent were willing to fight in the event of a war.
That is slightly up from 2014, when 71 percent were willing to fight, but well within the margin of error.
Older people who are much less at risk of being called up were the most gung-ho, with 83.5 percent of respondents in their 50s willing to fight, down from 86.8 percent in 2014.
Among those in their 40s, 80.4 percent were willing to fight, a big jump from 68.2 percent in 2014. The figure among 30-somethings also rose from 53.9 percent to 59.6 percent and among 20-somethings from 56.8 percent to 57 percent
But among teenagers the proportion plunged nearly 10 percent to 53.9 percent.
By gender, 81.3 percent of men and 62.9 percent of women were willing to fight.
"It appears that the willingness among reservists to defend their nation has grown stronger since the box mine attacks in the DMZ last August" that maimed two South Korean soldiers, a ministry official said.
Some 72.2 percent support the Seoul-Washington alliance, up from 69.1 percent in 2014.
Asked which side they would take if the U.S. went to war against North Korea, 54.7 percent chose the U.S. and a mere 5.8 percent the North, while 23.7 percent said they are neutral and 15.8 percent said they did not know.
Admiral Yi Sun-shin, who repelled a Japanese invasion in the 16th century, was the most popular national hero with 15.5 percent, followed by independence fighters Ahn Jung-geun (13.3 percent), Kim Koo (12 percent), Yu Gwan-sun (9.4 percent), Korean War general Paik Sun-yup (3.4 percent), independence fighter Ahn Chang-ho (2.9 percent) and former strongman Park Chung-hee (2.8 percent).
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