Slightly more than half of South Koreans think the security situation on the Korean Peninsula is serious, a poll showed Tuesday, amid growing instability in North Korea and historical and territorial disputes with its Asian neighbors.
According to the phone survey by Gallup Korea conducted on 1,000 adults from Nov. 20-26, 40.4 percent said the current security environment on the peninsula is “serious,” with 11.1 percent considering it to be “grave.”
About 33 percent of respondents said security on the peninsula is “normal,” while 10.3 percent said the security environment is “not serious,” the poll showed.
In addition, 64.7 percent of respondents believed the transfer of wartime operational control to Seoul from the U.S. would affect the security situation on the peninsula in the future.
The response came as Seoul and Washington have been in consultation on whether and when to transfer wartime OPCON to better deal with North Korean nuclear threat in light of its third nuclear test in February 2013.
Seoul handed over its operational command to the U.S.-led United Nations Command after the outbreak of the 1950-53 Korean War. It took over peacetime operational control of its troops in 1994.
The poll was taken amid high tensions in Northeast Asia after China’s expansion of its air defense zone drew a strong response from the U.S. and its Asian allies, notably South Korea and Japan.
It was commissioned by the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points. (Yonhap News)