More than eight out of 10 foreigners have a positive national image of South Korea, a survey released by the government showed Tuesday.
According to an online survey of 8,000 people in 16 countries, including South Korea, 80.3 percent of foreign respondents evaluated South Korea's national image positively.
Notably, 34.6 percent expressed a "very positive" impression of the nation's image, the survey showed. It was jointly conducted by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and its affiliate the Korean Culture and Information Service.
More than 90 percent of respondents from Southeast Asia assessed South Korea's image positively, whereas the corresponding share among Japanese was a mere 20 percent, it found.
Slightly over half -- 54.4 percent -- of South Korean respondents evaluated their own country in a positive way.
Asked to pick the areas of South Korean culture they found the most accessible, 36.2 percent of foreigners chose contemporary culture, including Korean Wave and the arts, followed by the economy with 18.1 percent, security with 17.8 percent and cultural heritage at 10.7 percent.
About 47 percent of foreigners gained information on South Korea through online media, 33.4 percent did so through broadcasting and 9.5 percent via newspapers and magazines.
Forty percent of foreign respondents called Korean cuisine, or "hansik," the nation's most representative image. It was trailed by K-pop at 22.8 percent, Korean culture at 19.1 percent and K-beauty with 14.2 percent.
As for the factors that have a positive effect on South Korea's image, 35.3 percent cited contemporary culture, followed by the economy at 17.5 percent, cultural heritage at 12.3 percent, Korean products and brands with 12 percent and the North Korea nuclear issue with 5.7 percent.
By country, the ratio of respondents with a positive image of South Korea exceeded 90 percent in Indonesia, Thailand, Brazil, Mexico and Russia. The corresponding ratio was in excess of 70 percent in France, Germany, Australia, the United States and Britain. The ratio among Chinese was 66 percent. On the other hand, 43.4 percent of Japanese people had a negative assessment of South Korea. (Yonhap)