South Koreans in their 50s are the most willing to fight against North Korea if a war breaks out, a survey released Wednesday showed.
According to the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs, about 720 out of 1,000 respondents surveyed for the 2015 Patriotism Index said they would fight against North Korea if a war breaks out.
Those in their 50s were the most willing to fight the North, with 83.5 percent saying yes, followed by those in their 60s at 81.5 percent.
In contrast, only 50 percent of those in their 20s and 59.6 percent of those in their 30s said they would fight against the North.
Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs (Yonhap)
By occupation, workers in agriculture, fishery business and private business owners showed stronger willingness to participate in a war, while it was relatively lower among students and people in white-collar jobs.
In 2015, South Korea’s average patriotism index scored 78.1 out of 100, with a higher score indicating stronger nationalistic feeling.
The ministry added that the index was similar to that of 2014.
“People who are now in their 50s and 60s probably scored higher on the Patriotism Index since some of them may have witnessed the Korean War,” said an official from the ministry.
Meanwhile, another survey published Wednesday showed a less hostile attitude among the young toward the North.
According to a survey on 1,004 Kookmin University students in Seoul by the Korea Institute of Future, 25 percent -- 251 of the participants -- said they would be willing to work in North Korean companies if there is reunification.
About 74 percent answered that they could become friends with North Koreans, while 65 percent said they would be willing to work in a company with North Korean colleagues.
When asked about dating or marrying a North Korean partner, almost 40 percent and 28 percent said yes, respectively.
“More than half of the respondents in the survey said they view North Korea as a country that needs reunification and cooperation in the future, rather than a hostile target,” said a researcher in a statement.
By Kim Da-sol (firstname.lastname@example.org)