You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

Unification support falls in S Korea as talks stall

AFP  |  Seoul 

Ever more South Koreans prefer peaceful co-existence with the nuclear-armed North to reunification of the peninsula, a survey found Monday.

Despite sharing a common language and ethnicity and centuries of history, North and South Korea have become radically different societies in recent decades.

Ruled with an iron grip by three generations of the Kim family, the North has turned itself into a nuclear power -- at the cost of international isolation -- while the South has embraced democracy and risen to become the world's 11th-largest economy.

The South's President Moon Jae-in regularly affirms unification as an eventual goal, but the picture in his country is far more nuanced, the survey by Seoul's Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU) showed.

A total of 65.9 percent of South Koreans saw unification as necessary, it said, down from 70.7 percent last year as inter-Korean engagement and nuclear talks between Pyongyang and Washington stall.

But when offered an alternative, 49.5 per cent of Southerners favoured peaceful co-existence with the North with only 28.8 per cent preferring unification, the biggest difference the survey has shown.

The differences are larger among younger people, with those in their 20s having spent their adult lives living with and sometimes threatened by a nuclear North.

If given a choice between unification and the economy, 70.5 percent put a higher priority on the economy, with just 8.3 percent backing unification.

A year ago the preferences were 60.7 and 12.8 respectively, but discontent over the South Korean economy is rising amid persistent unemployment and faltering growth.

The researchers carried out just over 1,000 face-to-face interviews last month, after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump failed to reach a deal over denuclearisation and sanctions relief in Hanoi in February, and before North Korea last week carried out its first missile launches for more than a year.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,


Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

First Published: Mon, May 13 2019. 15:56 IST
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU