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The Shape of Korea's Future: South Korean Attitudes Toward Unification and Long-Term Security Issues [Paperback]

Norman D. Levin , Yong-Sup Han

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Book Description

August 25, 1999 083302759X 978-0833027597
South Koreans are moving beyond both the historical and Cold War legacies in their thinking about Korea's long-time security. This major conclusion, which emerges from this report analyzing South Korean attitudes toward unification and long-term security issues, is bolstered by additional findings suggesting potentially significant movement in almost all areas of South Korea's traditional security perspectives. This includes significantly reduced South Korean security anxieties and increased confidence in Korea's place in the regional and global orders. It also includes greater hesitance about reunification, markedly altered attitudes toward Japan, increased discernment about the role of the U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) alliance, and heightened uncertainty about the long-term value of the U.S. regional military presence. Such attitudes could have important implications for both U.S. policy and U.S.-ROK security relations.

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From the Publisher

This report analyzes the results of a February 1999 public opinionpoll conducted jointly by the RAND Center for Asia-Pacific Policyand the Joong-Ang Ilbo, a leading South Korean daily newspaper.The poll was part of a larger project initiated in mid-1996 by RANDand funded by the Korea Foundation to examine changing SouthKorean attitudes toward long-term security and unification issues.Modeled on previous work done at RAND on German public opinionfollowing Germany's unification in 1990, the project is designed tobegin building a database on Korean attitudes toward security byundertaking regular surveys prior to and after unification of the twoKoreas. Specifically, the project has three objectives: to establishbenchmarks concerning South Korean attitudes on long-term securityissues in the aftermath of the Cold War; to provide insights intopossible future directions in Korean security policies and earlywarning of potential problems in U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) securityrelations; and to explore prospective regional and global rolesof a unified Korea.In pursuit of these objectives, an initial survey was conducted inSeptember 1996. The second survey described in this report soughtto build upon and extend the findings of the 1996 survey. Given thespecific objectives of the project, both surveys focused primarily onlong-term South Korean perspectives and concerns rather than onattitudes toward particular topical issues.The September 1996 survey was conducted through personal interviewswith 1,050 South Korean adults who were eligible voters. TheFebruary 1999 survey was scaled back to accommodate South Korean exigencies stemming from the financial crisis and focused ona core set of security issues. This second poll was conducted by telephonewith 713 eligible adult voters. The margin of error in both cases was plus or minus 3.2 percent.For ease of reading purposes, polling data cited in the text are generallyrounded up to the next whole integer, if 0.5 or higher, and down to the previous integer if 0.4 or lower.This report should be of interest to scholars, students, and ordinarycitizens seeking a better understanding of South Korean views onunification and security issues. It also should be of use to policy-makerson both sides of the Pacific as they try to anticipate potentialproblems in U.S.-ROK security relations and both generate andmaintain public support for their respective national policies.

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