(PresidentialHill.com)- A new poll has just revealed that some seven out of 10 South Koreans believe that their country should develop its own nuclear weapon to protect against neighboring aggressors.
The poll was performed by Hankook Research and shared by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs on Tuesday. It asked 1,500 people over the age of 18 in South Korea in December of last year.
According to the survey’s results, some 71% of South Korean support the development of a nuclear weapon and see it as a good way of defending against neighboring China and North Korea. Some 56% also supported a U.S. deployment. When respondents were asked to pick between the two options, 67% of South Koreans said that they preferred the development of a domestic nuclear arsenal, and only 9% supported American deployment.
Interestingly, the poll also showed that most respondents believe that a nuclear weapons program was necessary to protect against threats other than North Korea. Some 55% of respondents said that they believe China will pose the biggest threat to South Kore within the next decade.
Some 26% said that they support the program to increase their country’s “prestige” internationally, 23% said that they want the program to protect against North Korea, and 11% wanted a weapon to protect against a possible withdrawal of U.S. troops.
46% said that North Korea remains the top national security threat to the country, and some 82% also said that North Korea is not going to give up the development of its own nuclear weapons.
Toby Dalton, a co-author of the survey report, said that the data cannot be ignored.
“We can’t treat it as ‘the public is emotional on these issues,’” he said.
What do you think? Is it time for South Korea to have its own nuclear weapons?