October 02, 2018 12:02
U.S. citizens' support for the American troop presence in South Korea has risen to a record 74 percent, a survey by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs released Monday suggests. The figure rose from 60 percent in 2012 and 70 percent in 2016.
But asked what their position would be if North Korea agrees to complete denuclearization, 54 percent said they would favor a partial withdrawal of the U.S. Forces Korea, while 18 percent supported complete withdrawal.
President Moon Jae-in said during a luncheon celebrating the 70th Armed Forces Day at Cheong Wa Dae on Monday, "The USFK will continue to serve as peacekeepers in Korea and contribute to stability and peace in Northeast Asia."
His speech seems to be aimed at quelling fears of a U.S. withdrawal being on offer in return for North Korea's denuclearization.
In the poll, a record 64 percent also said the U.S. must protect South Korea if North Korea attacks, compared to only 26 percent in the 1990 survey. Support seems to have grown as North Korea appeared on the radar of ordinary Americans, who typically have little curiosity about the outside world.
Even if North Korea agrees to a denuclearization program, 51 percent said joint military drills between South Korea and the U.S. must continue, while 44 percent said they should stop. Also, 77 percent called for stronger economic sanctions against North Korea in case denuclearization does not happen, while 37 percent said they support military action against North Korean nuclear facilities and 25 percent said they would back the overthrow of the North Korean regime by military force.
This survey was conducted on 2,016 adults from July 12 to 31.
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