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Americans feel least favorable toward N. Korea: U.S. survey

2014/09/16 07:58

WASHINGTON, Sept. 15 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has topped the list of countries that the American people feel most unfavorable toward, a biennial survey showed Monday, amid the communist nation's prolonged detention of three U.S. citizens.

North Korea received a favorability rating of 23 points out of 100 in the Chicago Council on Global Affairs survey conducted on 2,108 adults from May 6-29. The North was followed by Iran with a rating of 27 points, Iraq with 31 points, Pakistan with 33 points and Russia 36 points.

Canada received the highest favorability rating of 79 points, followed by Britain with 74 points, Germany with 65 points, Japan with 62 points, France with 61 points, Israel with 59 points and Brazil with 58 points. South Korea was ranked eighth with 55 points.

Other Korea-related questions in the survey included whether U.S. troops should be used if North Korea invades South Korea, a U.S. ally. Nearly half of the respondents, 47 percent, were in favor of using American troops while 51 were against it.

Though still a minority, the council said, it was the highest level of support for sending U.S. troops to defend South Korea ever recorded in its surveys. Support has grown substantially since the question was first asked in 1982, when just 22 percent favored sending U.S. troops to defend the Asian ally.

Support for having U.S. military bases in South Korea rose to 64 percent from 60 percent in 2012.

But the survey also found that Americans do not see a threat from North Korea urgent enough to warrant military action, with 55 percent opposing airstrikes against military targets and suspected nuclear sites in the North and 41 percent favoring strikes.

An even larger proportion, 78 percent, opposed sending in U.S. ground troops to take control of North Korea while only 18 percent were in favor of the idea.

But 85 percent supported continuing diplomatic efforts to end Pyongyang's nuclear program, while 61 percent responded that U.S. leaders should be ready to meet with North Korean leaders to resolve disputes, according to the survey.

Seventy-nine percent of the respondents were in support of the U.S. secretly spying on North Korea. But 57 percent believed that the U.S. should not spy on South Korea, the survey showed.

The proportion of Americans seeing South Korea as a partner rather than a rival rose 5 percentage points to 70 percent from two years ago. Eighty percent considered Japan a partner, it showed.