If N Korea and Japan went to war, more Koreans would back Kim Jong Un poll shows

08-Nov-2019 Intellasia | NewsWeek | 6:02 AM Print This Post

If North Korea and Japan went to war, more South Koreans would back their immediate neighbour, a new poll by a state-sponsored think tank in Seoul showed.

The survey, conducted by research fellow Lee Sang Sin, was presented Wednesday as part of the Korea Institute for National Unification’s 11th annual Peace Forum. Lee set out to determine the views of South Koreans at a critical juncture in Northeast Asia’s power dynamics, and found they would more readily support longtime rival North Korea than fellow US ally Japan should a conflict break out between the two.

“Under a rather extreme hypothetical situation in which war may break out between North Korea and Japan, 45.5 percent would choose to help North Korea, and 15.1 percent Japan,” the survey, which was obtained by Newsweek, showed. “39.4 percent respond that they have no idea.”

Lee also found that responses did not vary much by political party, with the right-wing Liberty Korea Party only slightly more decided on assisting either Japan or North Korea. Lee told Newsweek that the results were “not so surprising” for those following the trend in inter-Korean relations.

While the past seven decades have been largely marked by hostility between the two Koreas, the two were jointly occupied by Japan for much of the first half of the 20th century. It was only after the Allied victory in World War II and the dual advance of Cold War adversaries the US and the Soviet Union that the Korean Peninsula was divided along opposing ideological lines.

The bloody, three-year war that followed has technically never ended because only an armistice brought a cessation of hostilities. In the 21st century, a number of attempts have been made to bridge the seemingly impossible gap between Seoul and Pyongyang, led now by third-generation supreme leader Kim Jong Un, who has overseen a historic era in inter-Korean diplomacy.

The young ruler has held a record three summits alongside South Korean President Moon Jae-in, an eager proponent of improving neighbourly ties. Kim also became the first North Korean head to meet with a sitting US leader, sitting down with President Donald Trump three times, the last of which also included Moon at a landmark border session.



Category: Korea

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