Bipartisan Support for the US-South Korea Alliance: Data

Both conservatives and liberals favor closer relationship with the United States.

Bipartisan Support for the US-South Korea Alliance: Data

Credit: Public domain.

Once upon a time, the conventional wisdom in South Korean politics was that conservatives were pro-US, and liberals were anti-US. To the extent it was true, it was an overstated distinction that confused South Korean liberals’ outrage at US support of successive military dictators. And today, it is not true any more.

According to a poll conducted by Hankook Ilbo 한국일보 for the 70th anniversary of US-ROK alliance, over 60% - and over 50% of self-identified progressives and/or Democratic Party 민주당 supporters - said the future government should “strengthen relationship with the United States.” Only around 20% of progressives and/or Democratic Party supporters said: “Step out of the US sphere of influence and pursue an independent foreign policy.” The response is a sea change from the same survey conducted in 2005, where 44% preferred independent foreign policy.

However, a subtle shift in attitude was present. Across all ages and partisan leanings, 70% said South Korea needed to “conduct diplomacy on an equal footing with the US and other neighbors.” In follow-up focus group interviews, many across all age groups and partisan leanings called for “a business-like relationship” and “a clearly defined give-and-take.”

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