June 24, 2013 10:39
More than half of South Korea's teenagers do not know when the 1950-53 Korean War started, according to a survey ahead of the 60th anniversary of the war's outbreak.
The Ministry of Security and Public Administration questioned 1,000 middle and high school students and 1,000 adults across the country from May 25 to June 6 and found no great awareness of national security matters despite frequent provocations from North Korea.
Some 35.8 percent of adults and 52.7 percent of teenagers were unable to name the correct date of the start of the Korean War. The proportion who got the date wrong was particularly high among women and girls with 44.6 percent and 62.5 percent.
Among those surveyed, 64.9 percent of adults and 51.9 percent of teenagers said they are very conscious of the need for national security. That is virtually the same as last year, up 1.6 percentage point among adults and 0.8 percentage points among teens, well within the margin of error.
A slim majority among teens or 50.2 percent said North Korea's third nuclear test, belligerent rhetoric and closure of the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex in recent months have not changed their view of national security.
South Koreans remain divided in their attitude to North Korea. Some 43 percent of adults think the government should cooperate with North Korea, up 9.3 percentage points since the sinking of the Cheonan in 2010. But 52.4 percent of adults said North Korea is an enemy, down 7.5 percentage points compared to 2010.
Among teenagers, 44.1 percent believe the government should cooperate with North Korea.
Still, 41.3 percent of teenagers said they expect the North to launch a major provocation, compared to only 24 percent of adults.
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