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Poll finds South Koreans feel China, not North Korea, biggest threat to world peace

The poll found that 91% South Koreans feel China is against the idea of a unified Korean peninsula.

Poll finds South Koreans feel China, not North Korea, biggest threat to world peace
File photo

South and North Korea have been bitter enemies for decades with relations only thawing a tad in recent months. Nonethess, the two countries continue to view each other with extreme suspicion and the border between the two remains one of the most militarized on either side. These, however, are not reasons big enough for South Koreans to feel their northern neighbours are the biggest threat to world peace, found a recent poll in the country.

China has taken that dubious distinction.

The poll, conducted by Institute for Peace and Unification Studies (IPUS) at Seoul National University, found that 46% of respondents regarded China as the biggest threat to world peace in 2017. This was a jump of 29% from the last time the poll was conducted - in 2016.

Another 33% this year continued to feel North Korea pose the biggest threat - a big fall from 64% in 2016. 

Significantly, a resounding 91% felt that China is not in favour of re-unification of the Korean peninsula. The poll also found that 90% felt that Japan was against the idea as well while another 88% said Russia won't be too keen either.

The poll was conducted among 1,200 people aged between 19 and 74. South China Morning Post reported that it was conducted between July 12 and August 3 this year.

It is reported that viewing China with a larger prism of suspicion could be due to a number of factors but that China's reaction to US installing THHAD missile system in South Korea could have had a major influence on what the poll eventually concluded. At the time, there was a wave of anti-South Korea sentiment in China with companies like Hyundai suffering massive losses.

This, coupled with China's aggressive military policy, could make Beijing look dubious - not just in South Korea but in several other countries as well.