Koreans are worried over North threat, local politics
South Korean people think that North Korea’s military provocations and unstable domestic political affairs are major elements that threaten national security, according to a survey conducted by the Korea National Defense University.
In its “2009 Perceptions on the National Security Affairs” publication, 49.7 percent of all civilian respondents picked the North’s military as a foreign issue that endangers the South’s security.
The reclusive nation’s unsettled regime followed at 47.2 percent.
The KNDU requested Gallup Korea to conduct the survey between Sept. 1 and Oct. 18 of last year.
Classified into several categories, including region, age, gender, academic background and income level, the questionnaire targeted 1,201 ordinary citizens and 60 security experts across the country.
The top concern, chosen by some 68.3 percent of the security experts, was the North’s unstable regime. The North’s military actions came in second at 46.7 percent.
The number is over 100 percent because multiple answers were allowed.
On the other hand, 62.9 percent of civilians picked political unrest at home as the top domestic issue that endangers national security. The second greatest concern was economic insecurity which came in at 48.3 percent.
Some 53.3 percent of experts said people’s weak sense of security is putting South Korea in danger in terms of security, the survey said.
In order to resolve security threats from outside South Korea, the report shows that 33.6 percent of civilians said inter-Korean exchanges have to be enlarged. And 29.9 percent indicated South Korea’s military strength was the second crucial measure to protect security from outside risks.
Most of the experts think strengthening the South Korea-U.S. alliance is the top priority in defending the South from security threats.
“Overall, many people assess national security circumstances as being somewhat unsteady. But they view national security in 2009 as being more secure than they did in the previous year’s survey,” said a researcher at KNDU who asked not to be named. “Furthermore, most of both respondent groups said they favor maintaining current mandatory military service and promoting South Korea’s peacekeeping activities in foreign countries.”
By Lee Min-yong [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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