Four out of 10 Koreans in their 20s to 40s don't know which year the Korean War broke out. Asked when the Korean War broke out, 61.8 percent of the Gallup respondents correctly answered 1950, 38.2 percent replied "I don't know," and the remainder gave wrong years.
Most respondents showed no interest in defending their nation, agreeing with the statement, "If a war breaks out, I won’t return home."
Some 48.7 percent said they would return from abroad if a war broke out, down from 53.6 percent in December 2002. The proportion who said they would not come back rose from 31 percent to 45 percent in the same period. The biggest group of refuseniks were in their 20s (57.2 percent), followed by those in their 30s (51.8 percent), their 40s (45 percent) and their 50s (31.1 percent).
Comparing military strength between the two Koreas in 1999, more respondents felt South Korea was stronger (46.9 percent) than North Korea (32.6 percent). But this year, more opted for North Korea (45.4 percent) than South Korea (42.5 percent), reflecting greater fears since the North test-fired a nuclear bomb in October last year. Asked "Which country do you think North Korea’s nuclear weapons threaten most?" the largest proportion or 49.8 percent cited South Korea.
Asked who they think was responsible for the Korean War, 33.2 percent said both North and South Korea and another 33 percent North Korea. Some 18.2 percent blamed "powers surrounding the Korean Peninsula."
[Excerpt of a Chosun Ilbo article]