Monthly JoongAng Survey Research on US-Korea Alliance

Key Issues
  • Current Korea-US alliance relationship & issues
  • The Roh Moo Hyun Administration and its policy towards the US
  • Prospects for future Korea-US relations
Dates Conducted

June 30 – July 8, 2005

Methodology

This survey of 101 South Korean experts in security and foreign affairs was conducted by Monthly JoongAng (a monthly periodical published by JoongAng Ilbo) via e-mail, fax and telephone. The experts include university professors (56.4%); researchers in think-tanks (19.8%); National Assembly members in relevant committees (13.9%) and government officials (9.9%).

With permission from the JoongAng Ilbo Sisa media, The Mansfield Foundation translated the survey questions and results into English. The Foundation used an internet version of Monthly JoongAng (August 2005).

Survey

On Current Korea-US Alliance Relations

1. How do you evaluate current Korea-US alliance relations?

Very strong 1.0%
Basically strong 15.8%
Neither strong nor weak 25.7%
Weak 41.6%
Very weak 15.8%

 

2. Compared to the previous Kim Dae-jung Administration, how do you evaluate the current Korea-US relationship?

The relationship has strengthened 2.0%
Hasn’t changed much 19.8%
Has weakened 61.4%
Has seriously weakened 15.8%
Don’t have an opinion/ No response 1.0%

 

3. Do you see the current state of Korea-US relations as desirable?

Yes 13.9%
No 86.1%

4. If the Korea-US alliance has weakened, what do you think is the major cause? (This Question was asked to the respondents who had answered “weakened” or “seriously weakened” in Question 2.)

The Participatory Government’s* policy towards the United States 57.7%
The Participatory Government’s policy towards North Korea 26.9%
Changes in US policy towards Korea 7.7%
Rising anti-Americanism in Korea 3.8%
The shift of international order 3.8%

* The Roh Moo Hyun Administration of South Korea describes itself as “the Participatory Government,” and the term is the equivalent to “The Roh Administration.”

 

5. If the Korea-US alliance has strengthened, what do you think is the major cause? (This Question was asked of respondents who answered “strengthened” or “hasn’t changed” in question 2.)

The Participatory Government’s policy towards the United States 50%
Don’t have an opinion/No response 50%

 

The Roh Administration’s Policy Toward the United States

6. How do you evaluate the Participatory Government’s view of the United States?

US-leaning or US-dependent 2.0%
Balanced 20.8%
Non-aligned with the US 44.6%
Anti-American 25.7%
Don’t have an opinion/No response 2.0%

 

7. How do you rate the Participatory Government’s policy towards the United States?

Excellent 3.0%
Pretty good 10.9%
Fair 12.9%
Poor 51.5%
Very poor 20.8%

 

8. If you answered “poor” or “very poor” in question 7, why do you think government policies are made or implemented in an undesirable way?

Amateurish performance of security/foreign policy apparatus of the administration 46.6%
Changes in international order, particularly the changing balance in East Asia 5.5%
Anti-American or independent policy of theRohAdministration 45.2%
US unilateral foreign policy 1.4%
Don’t have an opinion/No response 1.4%

 

9. Do you think the current security/foreign policy apparatus is doing a good job or poor job in carrying out its tasks?

Excellent job 1.0%
Fairly good job 6.9%
Doing as good as previous governments 14.9%
Poor job 53.5%
Very poor job 22.8%
Don’t have an opinion/No response 1.0%

 

10. What do you think is the problem of security/foreign policy apparatus of the Participatory Government?

Systemic problem. The current system, in which the National Security Council plays a central role, is the problem 36.6%
System is okay, but composition of the staff causes problems 37.6%
System and staff are okay, but their foreign policy strategy causes problems 6.9%
US-related issues have overwhelmed the system 11.9%
Don’t have an opinion/No response 4.0%

 

11. How do you rate the outcome of the last US-Korea Summit meeting on 10 June 2005?

Very successful 13.9%
Didn’t produce a very meaningful result 77.2%
Very unsuccessful 7.9%
Don’t have an opinion/No response 1.0%

 

Current Issues regarding Korea-US relations

12. Under the Roh Administration, a variety of issues has been discussed and negotiated between South Korea and the United States. What is your general opinion of the outcome of negotiations?

Fairly satisfactory 15.8%
Not so bad 49.5%
Somewhat negative 22.8%
Very negative and unproductive 10.9%
Don’t have an opinion/No response 1.0%

 

13. It is pointed out that US plans for “strategic flexibility” and an “Operation Plan”* may infringe on the sovereignty of South Korea. What do you think of this argument?

Agree very much 9.9%
Agree to some extent 41.6%
Disagree in general 39.6%
Disagree completely 7.9%
Don’t have an opinion/No response 1.0%

*“Operation Plan” refers to joint US Forces Korea-Republic of Korea contingency plans for the Korean Peninsula.

 

14. Which comes closer to your own opinion regarding the issues of new military doctrines and strategies that the US wants Korea to accept, such as “Strategic Flexibility” and developing an “Operation Plan”?

Although they affect South Korean security unfavorably, we should accept them for the sake of maintaining the US-Korea alliance 4.0%
We should accept them, because they serve Korea’s national interests 44.6%
We should not accept them, because they do harm to Korea’s national interests 21.8%
Other opinions Should put off the negotiation, and accept them only on the condition of US concessions 12.9%
Should re-negotiate so that the agreement will more closely reflect Korean interests 3.0%
Should co-ordinate and negotiate conflicting interests 11.9%

* This refers to joint USFK-ROK operation plans for various contingencies on the Korean Peninsula.

 

Prospects for Korea-US relations

15. What should be the priority among South Korea’s bilateral relationship?

Korea-US relations 85.1%
Korea-China relations 2.0%
Inter-Korean relations 11.9%
Don’t have an opinion/No response 1.0%

 

16. Given the security situation in the Korean peninsula, what do you think of a withdrawal of US troops at this point?

US troops should not be withdrawn at all, not even partially 13.9%
Partial withdrawal is possible, yet complete withdrawal shouldn’t be approved 59.4%
US troops should start to be reduced, and eventually be withdrawn except minimum level of presence 23.8%
US troops should be withdrawn completely 1.0%
Don’t have an opinion/No response 2.0%

 

17. What do you think the future Korea-US relations should be like?

The US-Korea alliance should be reinforced/ consolidated 54.5%
The relationship should maintain its current direction 11.9%
Korea should be more independent and diversify its alliance relations 28.7%
A blood alliance between Korea and the US is no longer desirable or relevant 3.0%
Don’t have an opinion/No response 2.0%

 

18. Why do you think the Korea-US alliance is necessary?

To deter potential invasion from North Korea 19.8%
To balance against emerging powerful neighbors such as China and Japan 66.3%
Because of high economic interdependence 6.9%
Because the US is the most friendly nation to South Korea 0.0%
Don’t have an opinion/No response 6.9%

Disclaimer

The Mansfield Foundation is responsible for the translation of this Asahi Shimbun poll, subject to the Mansfield Foundation terms of use (see below).

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