Majority of S. Koreans hopeful of economic cooperation with the North: Survey

Jan 01, 2019, 09:47 am

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By AsiaToday reporter Lee Seok-jong

The Year of the Golden Pig has dawned. With gold and pigs representing good luck and richness, a new poll found that a majority of South Koreans have rosy outlook for inter-Korean relations in 2019 while holding a negative perception on the economic situation.

The poll was conducted from December 27-29 by a survey agency R&Search on behalf of AsiaToday, which adopted "Open the Era of Prosperity for North and South Korea in the Year of the Golden Pig" as its New Year agenda. According to the poll, 57 percent of South Koreans said that the inter-Korean relations would get "better" than last year. 25.2 percent and 31.8 percent of respondents said the relations would "improve greatly" and "improve somewhat" respectively, while only 31.9 percent predicted them to worsen.

When asked whether inter-Korean economic cooperation projects are beneficial to the national economy, 52.6 percent expressed optimism while 41.9 percent gave a negative response. 60.3 percent of respondents said that the inter-Korean economic cooperation projects need to be actively pursued first for peace and prosperity of the Korean Peninsula. 59 percent said that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's visit to Seoul earlier this year is "necessary" while 36.8 percent said it is "not necessary."

The poll found that more than half of South Koreans think the inter-Korean economic cooperation projects will contribute to the national economy and that preemptive and active inter-Korean economic cooperation will bring peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula. In particular, it was found that nearly 60 percent of the people think that Kim's Seoul visit at the beginning of the year will trigger inter-Korean economic cooperation.

Regarding the situation of the national economy, 58.7 percent of respondents gave pessimistic views. 32.1 percent and 26.6 percent of respondents predicted it to "worsen somewhat" and "worsen significantly", respectively. On the other hand, only 34 percent responded positively. In particular, 90.8 percent of those supporting the main opposition Liberty Korea Party and 67.3 percent of the self-employed gave pessimistic views over the economic situation.

Regarding President Moon Jae-in's governing style in 2018, 46.6 percent responded positively while 49.3 percent answered negatively. Half of the respondents in their 20s, 50s, and 60s gave pessimistic views over the Moon Jae-in administration.

The survey was conducted via a wireless phone automated response system using structured questionnaires with a 6.1 percent response rate. The poll asked 1,025 people aged 19 or older. More details can be found on the website of the National Election Survey Deliberation Committee.

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