Poll: Youths Back N. Korea if Attacked

AP, Feb. 21, 2006

SEOUL, South Korea—Nearly half of South Korean youths who will be old enough to vote in the country’s next elections say Seoul should side with North Korea if the United States attacks the communist nation, according to a poll released Wednesday.

At the same time, 40.7 percent of the 1,000 young people surveyed said Seoul should remain neutral in the event of hostilities between Washington and Pyongyang, according to the poll by The Korea Times and Hankook Ilbo dailies. Only 11.6 percent said the South should back its longtime U.S. ally.

The poll, conducted Feb. 16-19, surveyed youths between 17 and 23 years old who will be old enough to vote in next year’s presidential election. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

The youths named China as South Korea’s most important partner for maintaining friendly relations, at 39.5 percent, followed by the United States and North Korea at 18.4 and 18 percent, respectively.

A majority of those surveyed, 54.1 percent, said peaceful reunification was the preferred method for ending the division on the peninsula. But 35.5 percent said the status quo should be maintained if the North and South can peacefully coexist.

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