Koreans think chance of war by North is very low

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Koreans think chance of war by North is very low

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Seven out of 10 South Korean adults and about half of its teenagers think the chances of North Korea starting another war is very low.

The Ministry of Security and Public Administration conducted a telephone survey of 1,000 randomly chosen adults and 1,000 teenagers to gauge the nation’s awareness of national security ahead of June 25, the day North Korea’s founding leader Kim Il Sung started the Korean War in 1950.

Of the adults, 71.7 percent said they didn’t think Pyongyang would start a new war, while 55.7 percent of teens in middle and high school said the same.

But 60.8 percent of the adults and 67.8 percent of the teens believed that Pyongyang would indulge in a military attack like the Yeonpyeong Island shelling of 2010.

If there is another such attack, 45.9 percent of the adult respondents said South Korea should fight back with full force.

Regarding the North’s nuclear tests, about 71 percent of adults and 67.2 percent of teenagers considered them a serious threat to South Korea’s national security.

The survey, however, showed that many South Koreans are ignorant of basic history. When asked to give the year the Korean War started, 35.8 percent of adults got the year wrong, along with 52.7 percent of teenagers. The ministry said the number for teens improved from 57.6 percent last year.

But 64.9 percent of adults and 51.9 percent of teens said their awareness of national security issues was high and that they consider it an important issue after Pyongyang’s long-range missile launches and nuclear tests.

In the survey, 52.4 percent of adults and 51.3 percent of teenagers said North Korea is the biggest enemy of South Korea.

BY KIM MI-HYE, KWON SANG-SOO [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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