Is there declining South Korean public support for humanitarian aid to North Korea?

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Previous public opinion surveys have shown strong South Korean public support for humanitarian food aid to North Korea.

In March 2020, 38North implemented a web survey: South Korean respondents were randomly assigned one of following three versions about providing humanitarian aid to North Korea.

  • Version 1: Do you think South Korea should give more humanitarian aid to North Korea than they are giving now?
  • Version 2: South Korea has allocated approximately 680 billion won for humanitarian aid to North Korea for 2020. Do you think South Korea should give more humanitarian aid to North Korea than they are giving now?
  • Version 3: South Korea has allocated approximately 680 billion won for humanitarian aid to North Korea for 2020. This comprises less than one-tenth of one percent of the national budget. Do you think South Korea should give more humanitarian aid to North Korea than they are giving now?

They found that how aid is presented matters. When provided with no information about allocations, only around 36 percent support expanding aid. However, when the actual budget of 680 billion Korean won is provided in the question, public support for expanding aid further decreases by approximately 11 percent. Even when the budget is contextualized in terms of the national budget, support declines by about 8 percent.

Additionally, findings suggest knowing a North Korean who has moved to South Korea generates broader sympathy for providing aid.

Overall, evidence suggests a public disconnect between support for peace and unification and a willingness to expand humanitarian aid that would support those efforts.

[Read full story at 38North]

This entry was posted in , , by Grant Montgomery.

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