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Over 90 pct of NK defectors 'proud' to be S. Koreans: poll

All News 10:16 April 22, 2017

SEOUL, April 22 (Yonhap) -- Nine out of 10 North Korean defectors said they were proud to be South Koreans, a survey showed Saturday.

According to the poll by the Korea Hana Foundation, a South Korean unification ministry affiliate, 92.3 percent of 2,663 North Korean defectors said they were proud to be South Korean citizens.

The survey was conducted last year on North Korean defectors aged over 15 who landed in Seoul between 1997 and 2015.

In specific numbers, 48.4 percent, or 1,246 people, said they were "very proud," while 43.9 percent, or 1,205 respondents, answered they were "moderately proud" to live as South Koreans.

By age, 63.8 percent of the defectors in their 60s answered they are "very proud" to have South Korean citizenship, followed by those in their 50s at 57.9 percent, 40-somethings at 48 percent, 30-somethings at 47.2 percent, 20-somethings at 38.7 percent and those 10-20 at 39 percent.

The result showed that North Korean resettlers took more pride in their new nationality than South Koreans. According to a survey conducted by the Korea Institute of Public Administration last year, the corresponding data for South Koreans marked only 62.5 percent, 29.8 percentage points lower than the defectors' tally.

"The result seems to reflect North Korean defectors' expectations and hope to start a new life in South Korea," said Chang In-sook, a researcher at the Korea Hana Foundation.

The poll showed 59.8 percent of North Korean defectors who have been living in South Korea less than three years took pride in their South Korean citizenship, while 46.5 percent of the defectors who have stayed south of the border between three to five years answered the same. The defectors who have lived in the South for between five and 10 years marked 48.4 percent, while those who have resided more than 10 years were at 46.5 percent.

In this photo provided by the Ministry of Unification on Jan. 20, 2017, Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo (L) talks with North Korean defectors at a shelter in an undisclosed location in South Korea. (Yonhap)


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