Go to Main Content
T T

Press Releases

  • More than six out of ten Seoul Citizens say unification is needed but prospect for inter-Korean relations is bleak

  • Press Releases SMG 210
    • Seoul announced the results of the survey on how Seoul citizens feel about South-North exchanges and cooperation.
    • Reflecting the soured inter-Korean relations for a long time, fewer citizens responded that the reunification of the two Koreas is necessary and the prospects over the inter-Korean relations will improve compared to the last year’s survey.
    • When asked about which policy should be taken with the highest priority for the city’s inter- Korean exchange and cooperation projects, the most popular answer was economy and industry, followed by social and cultural exchanges.
    • Regarding co-hosting the 2032 Seoul-Pyongyang Summer Olympics, the majority of survey respondents expressed positive sentiments, similar to the previous year’s 61.8 percent.

    SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA, December 29, 2020 — The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced the survey results on how Seoul citizens think about the South-North exchanges and cooperation.

    Regarding the reunification of South and North Koreas, 67.6 percent responded it is necessary, which is 6.6 percent down from 74.2 percent of the previous year, reflecting the soured inter- Korean relations for a long time.

    Asked about when the unification could be realized, the largest proportion of respondents(24.7%) expected it within 20 years as in the last survey while 23.2 percent said it would be impossible, 6.2 percent up from the previous year. About what would improve most as a result of reunification, the most popular answer was ideological strife (34.7%), followed by economic growth (32.1%) and unemployment (14.6%).

    Regarding the prospects over the inter-Korean relations for the next five years, 53.5 percent saw little chance of changes, 5.3 percent up from the previous year, while 34.8 percent answered it would improve, 4.7 percent down from the last year’s survey. 72.8 percent saw little chance that the North would give up its nuclear weapons program. 45.4 percent said the South needs to cooperate with the North, whereas 28 percent responded we need to be cautious about the North.

    While only 40.5 percent of respondents know about the inter-Korean exchange and cooperation projects led by the city government, more than half answered that such projects are needed
    (58.1%), or they help improve the relations between the two sides (58.8%), indicating that many citizens agree upon the necessity of those projects.

    When asked about which policy should be taken with the highest priority for the inter-Korean exchange and cooperation projects of the city, the most popular answer was economy and industry (24.0%), followed by social and cultural exchanges (20.75%), set-up of a favorable environment for unification (18.2%) and collaboration in health care (16.1%).

    Regarding which area most needs the economic cooperation between Seoul and Pyeongyang, respondents said urban infrastructure (24.1%), tourism industry (23.95%), health care industry
    (19.5%), and energy industry (11.95%). About social and cultural exchanges between the two cities, people responded they would like to see the “tour exchanges” (44.75%), joint excavation of historical sites (26.4%), joint performance and exhibit of cultural art (17.7%) and sporting events (7.9%).

    When asked about the central and the city governments’ push to jointly host the 2032 Seoul- Pyongyang Summer Olympics, majority of survey respondents (62%) expressed positive sentiments, similar to the previous year’s 61.8 percent.

    53.1 percent responded humanitarian aids should be provided to the North regardless of political or military situations where 80 percent of those surveyed said they took seriously the internal conflict within South Korea arising from differences in perceptions of North Korea and reunification. The survey results indicated that the South needs to provide the North with humanitarian aids to improve the inter-Korean relations (38.5%), for humanitarian reasons (36.5%) or because the two Koreas share the same ethnic roots (17%).

    About which policy the city government needs to push with top priority to resolve the internal conflict, the most popular answer was social dialogue (46.7%) followed by education project for peace and reunification (21.9%), set-up of favorable environment for reunification (18.3%), and international conferences (8.9%).

    A question is added to the survey this time about media opening between two Koreas. Assuming that the two Koreas open up their media to each other, 57.6 percent replied the North’s opening would help bridge the gap between the two sides whereas 42.4 percent answer it would not.

    Hwang Bang-yeol, Director General of Inter-Korean Cooperation at the Seoul Metropolitan Government, said, “The long-standing soured relations between the two sides may have affected the output of this survey especially about the necessity of reunification and prospect of the inter-Korean relations. However, citizens still appear to agree on major projects of the city such as jointly holding the Olympics and providing humanitarian aids. Despite difficult situations, we at the government will continue to work on what we have to do.”

    This survey was conducted online of 2,000 residents of Seoul aged 19 to 69 for eight days from November 27 to December 4. It has a 2.2 percent margin of error at 95 percent confidence level.