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Most S. Koreans support alliance with U.S. despite tensions: poll

All News 05:48 August 04, 2020

By Lee Haye-ah

WASHINGTON, Aug. 3 (Yonhap) -- Most South Koreans expressed support for the South Korea-U.S. alliance despite ongoing tensions over burden-sharing, a new poll found Monday.

According to the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, 90 percent of respondents said they either strongly support or somewhat support the alliance, similar to the 92 percent in December.

The survey, conducted on 1,000 adults in South Korea from June 23-25, also found that a unilateral withdrawal of American troops from South Korea is likely to undermine public support for the alliance.

That's because the U.S. commitment to defend South Korea is closely linked to views of the alliance as mutually beneficial.

Most S. Koreans support alliance with U.S. despite tensions: poll - 1

Eighty-two percent of the respondents said they are very confident or somewhat confident in the U.S. commitment to defend South Korea. Of those who are very confident, 78 percent said the alliance is mutually beneficial.

Meanwhile, of those who expressed no confidence in the U.S. commitment to defend South Korea, 70 percent said the alliance mostly benefits the U.S., while just 19 percent said it benefits both nations.

Overall, 64 percent said they regard the alliance as mutually beneficial.

"But a high-profile action that would erode confidence in the U.S. commitment, such as a unilateral U.S. troop drawdown, may start to shift the percentages of those that see the alliance with the United States as mutually
beneficial," the council said. "That would likely dent confidence in the U.S. commitment to defend South Korea and likely decrease numbers that see the alliance with the United States as benefitting both countries."

The survey found that 74 percent of the respondents continued to support the long-term stationing of U.S. troops in South Korea.

That support appeared tied to confidence in the U.S. defense commitment to South Korea, at 86 percent among those very confident in the U.S. commitment and declining as confidence lessens.

More than 60 percent said they had heard or read at least a fair amount about the two countries' negotiations for a new defense cost-sharing agreement.

The negotiations have stalled for months as the U.S. demands a significant increase in South Korea's contributions to the cost of stationing 28,500 American troops on the peninsula.

The survey was conducted with funding from the Korea Foundation and had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

hague@yna.co.kr
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