[EDITORIALS]A strategic relationshipA JoongAng Ilbo-supported public opinion poll of Koreans and Americans is very indicative of current U.S.-South Korea relations.
Nine out of 10 Koreans said the U.S.-South Korean alliance should be maintained after the reunification of the two Koreas. Around half named the United States as the country South Korea should cooperate with the most. Eight out of 10 Koreans said globalization is beneficial to the Korean economy. Thus, the poll suggests Koreans are basically pro-American and open to the world.
Also, eight out of 10 American opinion leaders, including politicians and scholars, said the United States should intervene if North Korea attacks the South. Both the American opinion leaders and public named Korea as the country that requires the presence of the U.S. military the most, surpassing Germany, Japan and Iraq.
The poll refutes conceptions by some that “anti-American feeling is prevalent in Korea” or that “U.S. troops have to withdraw due to the heightening anti-American sentiment.” We believe that the alleged anti-American sentiment or “crumbling U.S.-South Korean alliance” are concepts exaggerated by some politicians.
The poll revealed that Koreans think of America as a country that exercises a great influence on their fate and they think they have to be on good terms with the country, whether they like it or not. Also, the poll showed that Americans think that Korea is very important strategically.
As shown in the poll, Koreans and Americans look at each other with a positive and realistic perspective. We believe this is a good sign that the two countries’ relationship will advance soundly.
Korean politicians should not use anti-American sentiment for their own political purposes, saying, “What is wrong with having some anti-American feelings?” Nor should they be unrealistic and argue for an ideology-oriented, unilateral diplomacy.
The United States, for its part, should also faithfully fulfill its role as a stabilizer in the East Asian region, avoiding offending the feelings of Koreans.
The poll showed that some groups’ judgment that the U.S.-South Korean relationship is worsening is superficial.
The poll is meaningful in that we confirmed that the two countries can advance their reciprocal relationship even further.