A survey showed that some 60 percent of South Korean people are pessimistic about the improvement of relationship between South and North Korea next year as a result of regid attitude of Lee Myung-bak government toward the North in the last five years.
The survey was conducted recently over the telephone by the Hyundai Research Institute (HRI) on some 1,000 people about the prospect of South-North relationship in the coming years.
People seem to think that whoever takes power in the coming presidential election, it would not be easy for the next President to break the deadlocked relationship of the two Koreas becasue of the inflexible North Korean policy by current MB administration, HRI said.
In a press release based on the survey result, HRI further said some 60 percent of those surveyed said that the first thing to do to improve the South-North relationship is the resumption of Kaesung tour program. People also think that it must be resumed ahead of the Mt. Keumkang tourism that has remained suspended in the last four years.
The survey, conducted on some 1,000 people living in Seoul and vicinity regions from June 28 through July 3, also revealed that some 45 percent of the respondents showed their dissatisfaction with the current government’s North Korean policy. It also means that those opposing to current North Korean policy were three time higher than those supporting it. Only 13.8 percent of those queried supported the current policy, the HRI said.
Another noteworthy fact was that many of the respondents had negative prospect about the improvement of the relationship in 2013 when the new government will come in as a result of the presidential election at the end of this year. About 59 percent of those surveyed answered that the situation “will be similar to now” and the other 23 percent expected to be “further aggravated.” The HRI interpreted it as a show of people’s expectation that President Lee should do something to break the current deadlock before his tenure of office ends at early next year with a view to alleviating the burden of next President in the relationship with North Korea.
Hong Soon-jik, HRI senior researcher, said in a telephone interview with the AsiaN that “it may be difficult for President Lee to take any meaningful North Korean policy at a time when his term of office already came close to an end. But even any humanitarian measures for the North, if taken, will be greatly helpful for the next President in dealing with North Korea bent on criticizing the MB regime for being intransigent in the last five years.”
He further said that another measure it can take at this moment is to push ahead the reunion of dispersed family members on the occasion of Aug. 15 Independence Day or Chusok, Korean version of Thanksgiving Day, that falls on September. If it is found to be difficult, Hong said, the only remaining card for improving South-North relationship is the resumption of tour program to Kaesung or Mt. Keumgang
Hong added that “the crucial facts the government has to take into consideration in dealing with the North are that exchange between North Korea and China has been on the rise since the May 14 measure intended to pressure North Koream, inter-Korea eocnomic exchange utilizing Kaesung Industrial Comples is vertually interrupted, bringing the the small and medium-sized cocmpanies of Seouth Korea which moved into the industrial comples are on the verge of being collapsed.”
The survey also indicated that seven out of 10 people hoped that the Mt. Kumkang tour program should be resumed as soon as possible, saying that the program is a window through which South and North Korea can understant each other. They also say that it is a symbol of peace and reconciliation between the two sides, according to HRI.
Some 47 percent of the respondents replied they are willing to join the tour program if it resumes. Of those wishing to go Mt. Keumkang, more than half were those who had visited the scenic mountain earlier while 46 percent were the people who have never been there.
Russia, Attended Kim Il-sung University, PhD in Korean History, Leningrad State University, Professor at Australian National University(1996), Professor at Kookmin University, Contributor for The AsiaN
Nepal, Reporter of The Rising Nepal
Egypt, Editor of Al-Arabi Magazine in Kuwait, Chief of The AsiaN's Middle East Bureau
Pakistan, Pakistan Press International Editor, Contributor for The AsiaN
India, SPOTFILMS CEO, FORMEDIA Chairman
Egypt, Managing Editor of the AsiaN's Middle East Bureau, Graduate Student of Mass Communication and Journalism at Ahram Canadian University