South would cheer on North in football with U.S.

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South would cheer on North in football with U.S.

More than 70 percent of South Koreans would root for North Korea if the communist nation played a football match with the United States, while the two Koreas’ reunification is becoming less of a priority for the public here, a study showed yesterday.

According to the study by Professor Eun Ki-soo of Seoul National University, one survey last year showed that 70.1 percent of respondents would cheer for North Korea while only 6 percent to 8 percent would side with the United States in a football match between the two countries. Six to 10 percent said they would cheer for both teams, while the remaining 10 to 13 percent said they would not side with either.

Comparable data showed that the percentage of North Korea supporters was 21.3 percent in 1986 before increasing annually to 55.1 percent in 1987, 58.1 percent in 1988, 71.2 percent in 1989 and 82 percent in 1990.

When asked about the necessity of their country reunifying with the North, only 12.3 percent of respondents in 2008 replied positively, compared with 58 percent in 1995. Over the surveyed period, the proportion fell gradually to 47.9 percent in 1998, 22 percent in 2001 and 16.2 percent in 2003.

The proportion of those with negative answers, such as “It is best left as it is” or “There should never be reunification,” grew from 17.5 percent in 1998 to 45.3 percent in 2008.

Among those who chose unification, more people gave practical reasons for their preference, with 24.1 percent last year saying it would prevent war and 20.7 percent replying it would help their country become an advanced nation. The corresponding percentages in 1994 were 14.6 and 14.2 percent, respectively. Being one people accounted for 43 percent of the given reasons last year, down from 59 percent in 1994.

“Perceptions of North Korea changed dramatically in the late 1980s as can be seen in the football match survey,” the report said. “Such results appear to stem from a rediscovery of North Korea as the same people after the end of the Cold War.”

It also said unification is still seen as an important issue in the South, with some declining interest owed to the long-term division of the Korean Peninsula and the rising cost of reunification.


Related Korean Article [연합]

"北-美 축구경기에서 북한 응원하겠다" 21%→70%
25년간 통일의식 변화 분석…'반드시 통일돼야' 58%→12% '뚝'

북한과 미국이 축구경기를 벌인다면 북한을 응원하겠다는 한국인의 비율이 1980년대 중반에는 21%에 불과했지만 지난해에는 70%로 증가한 것으로 나타났다.

8일 서울대 통일평화연구소에 따르면 은기수 서울대 국제대학원 교수는 연구소의 지원으로 1985년부터 지난해까지의 각종 연구자료를 종합해 '한국인의 통일의식과 태도의 장기적 변화'를 분석했다.

보고서에 따르면 미국과 북한의 축구경기에서 북한을 응원하겠다는 응답은 1986년 21.3%에서 1987년 55.1%, 1988년 58.1%, 1989년 71.2%, 1990년 82.0%로 매년 급격히 상승했다.

설문방식을 달리한 최근 연구자료에서도 미국 대신 북한을 응원하겠다는 응답자의 비율은 2008년 76.1%, 2009년 68%, 지난해 70.1%로 미국팀(6~8%), '양팀 모두'(6~10%), '어느 팀도 응원 안함'(10~13%) 등 다른 비율을 모두 크게 웃돌았다. …
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