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Over half of EU citizens have positive view of S. Korea: study

Visitors at a Korean cosmetics promotion event held in Europe gather around a booth. (Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy)
Visitors at a Korean cosmetics promotion event held in Europe gather around a booth. (Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy)

More than half of European Union citizens hold a positive attitude toward South Korea, according to a study presented by Han Jeong-hun, a professor of Korean politics at Seoul National University Wednesday.

According to the study, 55.3 percent of EU citizens said they had a positive view of South Korea, while another 18 percent said they had no opinion. Meanwhile, 26.8 percent said they had a negative view.

However, when asked about how interested they were in Korea, only 38.6 percent responded saying they were "very and somewhat interested," while a larger proportion -- 61.4 percent -- answered they had "little to no interest."

The data was surveyed by Statista and Hankook Research in October, and 4,000 people from Belgium, France, Germany and Italy, and 2,000 people from Korea participated. It was presented by Han during an event held at the South Korean Embassy in Brussels, marking the 60th year of bilateral ties between the EU and South Korea.

The study showed that interest in Korea was divided among age groups.

EU citizens in their 20s showed the highest interest at over 50 percent, while those over 65 showed the lowest interest at 26.7 percent.

“Younger people in the EU tend to show more interest in Korea, and this could be because the younger group was more exposed to Korean culture,” professor Han explained.

Meanwhile, the study also showed Korean citizens tended to have a friendlier attitude toward the EU, with 69.4 percent saying they had positive views, and 15.3 percent held negative views.

Although this study showed EU citizens were generally positive about Korea overall, Han said South Korea should implement policies to increase interactions with the EU to foster better perceptions. Findings from the same survey showed over 70 percent of EU citizens had favorable views of Japan, he added.



By Lee Seung-ku (seungku99@heraldcorp.com)
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