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S. Koreans more optimistic than Japanese about realization of N. Korea's denuclearization

All Headlines 16:34 June 18, 2018

SEOUL, June 18 (Yonhap) -- South Koreans are more optimistic than the Japanese that North Korea will implement denuclearization based on the historic inter-Korean summit in April, according to a survey released Monday.

Of the South Korean respondents, 13.7 percent said they expect the North will denuclearize as agreed in the summit that South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held in the truce village of Panmunjom on April 27, compared with 1.2 percent among Japanese respondents.

The joint survey by the South Korean private think tank East Asia Institute and Japanese think tank Genron NPO also showed 45.6 percent of South Koreans and 24.3 percent of Japanese believe North Korea will make efforts for denuclearization but that it will take a great deal of time for the North to do so.

In the Panmunjom Declaration, the leaders expressed their commitment to the "complete" denuclearization of the peninsula and agreed to declare an end to the Korean War by the end of the year.

Asked about when the issue of denuclearization will be resolved, more than 60 percent of South Koreans said it will come "within 10 years," with 3.8 percent and 13.8 percent answering "this year" and "within the coming two years," while 65.1 percent of the Japanese replied it will not come at all.

On Seoul-Tokyo relations, the survey revealed that 54.8 percent of South Koreans and 40.6 percent of Japanese said they believe the ties of the two neighboring countries are "bad," down 10.8 percentage points and 17.1 percentage points, respectively, from a year ago to the lowest levels since 2013.

The ratios of South Korean and Japanese respondents who said bilateral ties will worsen in the future fell 1 to 3 percentage points from the previous year.

More than 28 percent of South Koreans said they hold favorable feelings for Japan, up from the previous year, but 22.9 percent of the Japanese respondents said they have good feelings for South Korea, down 4 percentage points, the survey said.

It marked the first time the ratio of Japanese having friendly feelings toward South Korean was lower than that of South Koreans toward them. In the five surveys that the two think tanks conducted from 2013 through 2017, the ratios of Japanese with good feelings for South Koreans were higher than those of South Koreans toward the Japanese.

The survey covering 1,014 South Koreans aged 19 or older and 1,000 Japanese aged 18 or older was conducted between May and June.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa (C) poses with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono ahead of their meeting at the foreign ministry building in Seoul on June 14, 2018. (Yonhap)


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