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Moon's approval rating rebounds to 68 pct

All Headlines 10:49 February 23, 2018

SEOUL, Feb. 23 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in's approval rating sharply increased to a six-week high this week, a poll showed Friday, amid continued dialogue and reconciliation with North Korea over the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.

The president's approval rating came to 68 percent in a survey conducted by Gallup Korea.

The latest reading marked a 5 percentage point increase from two weeks earlier and the highest since the third week of January. The weekly survey was skipped last week when the country celebrated its three-day lunar new year's holiday.

The rise in Moon's approval rating apparently reflects the recent mood of rapprochement between the two Koreas, which technically remain at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended only with a ceasefire.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (third from L) speaks to Kim Yo-jong (second from L), the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, while watching the performance of a North Korean art troupe in Seoul on Feb. 12, 2018. Kim was in Seoul as a special envoy of her brother and part of a 22-member delegation to the opening of the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games. The delegation was headed by Kim Yong-nam (L), North Korea's ceremonial head of state. (Yonhap)

Seoul and Pyongyang held three rounds of bilateral talks last month to discuss the communist state's participation in the ongoing Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, 180 kilometers east of Seoul.

The North sent a high-level delegation, headed by its nominal head of state Kim Yong-nam, to the Feb. 9 opening of the Olympics. The delegation also included North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's younger sister, Yo-jong, who, in a meeting with Moon held the day after the opening ceremony, relayed her brother's proposal for what would be a third inter-Korean summit.

In the Gallup survey conducted on 1,002 adult South Koreans, 22 percent said they did not approve the way the president managed state affairs, down 6 percentage points from two weeks earlier.

The ruling Democratic Party's approval rating gained 3 percentage points over the cited period to 48 percent, while that of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party slipped 1 point to 11 percent.

The approval rating of the newly created Bareunmirae Party came to 8 percent, while that of the progressive Justice Party was 6 percent.

bdk@yna.co.kr

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