60% of Americans Feel Threatened by N.Korean Nukes

  • By Yoon Jung-ho, Cho Yi-jun

    October 07, 2016 09:44

    Sixty percent of Americans think of North Korea's nuclear development as a "critical threat" to the U.S., a poll suggests.

    "With concern rising about North Korea's nuclear test... a majority of the American public -- 60 percent -- continue to cite North Korea's nuclear program as a critical threat to the United States," the Chicago Council on Global Affairs said.

    This figure is up five percentage points on-year. The poll reflects recent calls among some senior American figures for a preemptive strike on the North's nuclear facilities.

    Song Dae-sung, former head of the Sejong Institute, said, "Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the U.S. has honed its war doctrine around preemptive or preventive strikes, determined not to wait till disaster strikes. It already identified 6,000 to 7,000 targets of preemptive strikes a decade ago."

    "Nobody should make light of the recent opinion trend in the U.S.," he added.

    In the poll, a record 70 percent supported the presence of the U.S. troops in South Korea, up six percentage points from 2014 and 10 from 2012. Seventy-six percent of Republican supporters, 70 percent of Democratic supporters, and 64 percent of independents approved of the stationing of the U.S. troops in South Korea.

    They include 72 percent of supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who has claimed the U.S. Forces Korea cost too much. The proportions were much higher than for other overseas troop presences in Australia, Japan and Germany.

    But more Americans support diplomatic efforts rather than a military solution to the North Korean nuclear issue. "Eighty-one percent of Americans support continuing diplomatic efforts to get North Korea to suspend its nuclear program... Eighty percent also support imposing tighter sanctions," the CCGA said.

    Some 35 percent support airstrikes against the North's nuclear facilities and only 25 percent supported sending U.S. troops to destroy those facilities.

    With the support of the Korea Foundation, the poll was conducted online by GfK among 2,061 adults.

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