70% of Koreans would fight in war, poll finds

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70% of Koreans would fight in war, poll finds

Taking into consideration the gravity of the current security situation, seven out of 10 people in Korea claim they would fight in the event of a war, according to a poll conducted by the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs released Tuesday.

The annual telephone survey of 1,000 men and women nationwide over the age of 15 was conducted by the Veterans Ministry and polling company Research and Research between Oct. 24 and Nov. 1.

The results show that 71.4 percent of people polled believe the country’s security situation to be in a serious state, up 20.5 percentage points compared to 2015.

Also, 73.1 percent of respondents said they would fight in the event of a war, up from 72.1 percent the previous year.

People in their 20s and 30s especially showed more anxiety about security than the previous year, while 72.2 percent of respondents said “the Korea-U.S. alliance is helpful to our security.”

If war was to break out between the United States and North Korea, only 2.3 of respondents said they would take the side of Pyongyang.

In a poll conducted by Gallup Korea in 2005, 65 percent of young people between the ages of 16 and 25 chose Pyongyang when asked who they would support in a war between the United States and North Korea.

In the ministry’s poll, no teens said they would support Pyongyang in the case of war with Washington.

But 41.6 percent of those surveyed said a delay in the transfer of wartime operational control to South Korea from the United States would help security.

The lower the level of education and income, and the older respondents’ age, the more likely they were to say they would fight in a war.

Respondents also had a high sense of the need to fulfill national obligations, with the obligation to pay taxes coming in highest at 96.2 percent, followed by the obligation to abide by the law at 83.3 percent.

An obligation to feel pride in Korea came in at 74.4 percent, while pride in Korean history came in at 68.8 percent.

The Veterans Ministry said the total average points measuring the public’s “love for the country” in 2016 was 78.9 points, down 0.6 points from the previous year.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joognang.co.kr]

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