8 in 10 Korean men willing to fight in inter-Korean war

8 in 10 Korean men willing to fight in inter-Korean war
PHOTO: AFP

Eight out of 10 Korean men will "readily fight" in case of a war against North Korea, with those in their 20s showing the strongest willingness, a poll showed Monday.

According to the survey by Gallup Korea of 537 male citizens aged 19 or older, 83 per cent of the respondents stated that they would fight if a war, like the one in the 1950s, were to break out.

Men in their 20s were most eager to participate at 91 per cent, followed by those in their 50s at 88 per cent, 40s at 84 per cent and 60s or older at 77 per cent.

Those in their 30s were most reluctant to take part with 75 per cent, which the polling agency viewed as a result of them being the age group where they may feel greater responsibility for their family, being married and having young children.

Of 463 female respondents, 55 per cent said they would participate in such a war, with 50-something women most willing to play a part in an inter-Korean conflict.

The survey polled randomly chose 1,000 Koreans aged 19 or older from June 16-18, using automated phone interviews.

The survey asked the respondents six questions on their perceptions about the Korean War that broke out on June 25, 1950, later involving more than 20 countries.

The poll showed that only 64 per cent knew the exact year the Korean War took place, with those in their 40s being the most aware among the groups, with 81 per cent. The rate was the lowest among 20-somethings at 53 per cent.

The survey also suggested that the majority of Koreans, or 87 per cent, believe that North Korea started the Korean War. Only 6 per cent said that both Koreas were responsible for the outbreak of the war.

While it is widely believed that North Korea started the Korean War by invading South Korea, some scholars view the war as having been initiated by both Koreas or intervention by external forces such as the US, Soviet Union and China.

The US and 20 other allied countries fought alongside South Korea under the United Nations flag, while the Soviet Union and China supported North Korea.

It ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, leaving the two Koreas technically at war to date.

Regarding the prospects of any inter-Korean war, more than half of the surveyed said that there is no or little possibility, while 39 per cent said that it could happen.

Koreans' predictions remain largely unchanged for the past decade despite North Korea's military aggressions.

In 2007, 51 per cent of Koreans expected a war to break out, but the rate fell to 35 per cent in 2013, despite the communist neighbour carrying out its third nuclear test earlier that year.

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