Poll: 56% of South Koreans support THAAD deployment, 31% opposed

Posted on : 2016-08-13 16:15 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
Support has risen 6% since deployment was announced, and opposition dipped by 1%
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56% of South Koreans support the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) antimissile system on the Korean Peninsula, survey results show.

The findings published on Aug. 12 from a regular survey by Gallup Korea also showed 31% opposing the deployment. No major changes were found on opinions regarding China’s importance in peace on the Korean Peninsula.

A poll conducted by Gallup just after the official THAAD deployment announcement on July 8 showed support at 50% and opposition at 32%.

“In the survey one month ago, 28% of women declined to give an opinion, but that percentage was down to 19% this time, while support [for the deployment] among women rose from 38% to 49%,” explained Gallup.

“The rise in support was especially larger among women sixty and older [from 44% to 64%],” it added.

83% of respondents who identified themselves as supporters of the ruling Saenuri Party expressed support for the deployment. Among People’s Party respondents, support outweighed opposition by a margin of 51% to 44%. In contrast, among respondents identifying with the Minjoo Party - which has continued adopting a “strategic ambiguity” approach on the deployment issue - the deployment was opposed by 56% and supported by 34%.

When asked which other country was most important to peace on the peninsula, 53% of respondents named the US, while 33% mentioned China, 2% mentioned Japan, and 1% mentioned Russia.

“The position that the US was most important was most common among respondents in their twenties and over sixty at around 60%, and came in just above 50% for those in their thirties and fifty and older,” Gallup said.

“Notably, respondents in their forties, who are the key segment in economic activity, named the US and China at roughly similar rates [40% and 44%, respectively],” it added.

The findings showed 33% of respondents rating China as most important to peace on the peninsula. A Mar. 2015 poll also put the level at 33%, while another conducted in August of that year found 30% of respondents agreeing.

“China has been vehemently objecting for the last month since the THAAD deployment decision was announced, but perceptions on relationships with neighbors have not changed much from last year,” Gallup observed.

For the study, a total of 1,004 adults around the country were surveyed through mobile phone random digit dialing between Aug. 9 and 11. The survey had a 95% confidence level and a margin of error of ±3.1%, with a 21% response rate.

By Kim Nam-il, staff reporter

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

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