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Eight out of 10 S. Koreans see chance of war with North: poll
By Kim Eun-jung
SEOUL, Jan. 8 (Yonhap) -- Almost eight out of 10 South Koreans still see a possibility of war breaking out with the North sixty years after the Korean War ended in a ceasefire, a survey showed Tuesday.

   According to the survey by the veterans' agency of 1,020 adults nationwide, 78.7 percent said another war with the communist rival may take place on the peninsula, while 15.7 percent thought the war was effectively over and only 4.2 percent considered the war completely over.

   The Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs conducted the survey from Nov. 15-24 of last year to gauge public sentiment on the unfinished war ahead of marking the 60th anniversary of the truce.

   Among them, 45.7 percent expected the two Koreas will remain divided for the next 20 years, while 25 percent said the current status will last for the next decade and 10.2 percent said it will last for 15 more years.

   To promote peace in the region, the respondents demanded the government pursue efforts to raise security awareness among the public, push for reconciliation with Pyongyang, strengthen national security, promote diplomacy with other countries and strengthen the military alliance with the United States.

   The result underscores persistent security concerns among the public as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is trying to consolidate his power after taking the helm of the impoverished nation when his father Kim Jong-il died in December 2011.

   Although the two Koreas have not engaged in a full-scale war since the three-year war ended in a 1953 truce, minor skirmishes have taken place near the frontier and the tensely guarded western sea in the last decades.

   Tensions escalated after 50 South Koreans were killed in 2010 in two deadly attacks by the North in the Yellow Sea. Pyongyang's firing off a long-range rocket last month further strained inter-Korean ties as the launch was seen as a test of its ballistic missile technology.

   ejkim@yna.co.kr
(END)
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