Americans keen on Korea alliance

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Americans keen on Korea alliance

The majority of South Koreans and U.S. citizens agree that the alliance between the two countries should remain intact for the foreseeable future, according to a recent survey conducted in both countries.

The Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul held a symposium this week during which the result of surveys about U.S.-South Korea relations were released.

The U.S. survey was conducted by experts on North Korea - Victor Cha and Katrin Katz - as part of a larger survey for the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. From June 11-22, 2,596 Americans were surveyed; the Asan Institute interviewed 2,000 people in South Korea.

Survey results showed that 80 percent of Americans believe the alliance between the U.S. and South Korea should be maintained even if the two Koreas were to become unified.

The survey found that Americans view China as a big factor in American issues, with 55 percent saying the alliance between the U.S. and Korea should be maintained to counterbalance China. Of South Korean respondents, 87.3 percent said the U.S.-Korean alliance should be maintained and 60 percent said China would intervene in a war between the two Koreas.

Both sides also felt strongly about the stationing of U.S. troops in South Korea, with 62 percent of Americans saying the U.S. should have long-term military bases in South Korea, with Afghanistan and Iraq trailing behind.

However, 56 percent of Americans were against the idea of U.S. troops going into battle if a war were to break out between the two Koreas.

Of South Koreans, 76.9 percent felt the nation is incapable of winning a war against North Korea without the help of the U.S. A similar number said South Korea could not prevent a war from breaking out with North Korea without the assistance of the U.S.

Regarding North Korea’s nuclear program, half of American respondents said solving the nuclear problem is more important than any other Korean issue and they would support negotiating an end to North Korea’s nuclear capacity even if it meant accepting the North Korean regime and continued division of the Peninsula.

Additionally, 75.4 percent of South Koreans said they felt threatened by North Korea’s nuclear capability and over half believe that South Korea should possess a nuclear weapon.

As for other issues, 71 percent of Americans were unaware that South Korea is one of the top 10 countries the U.S. trades with and 67 percent believe the U.S. should stay out of the sunken South Korean warship issue.


By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]

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