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(LEAD) 7 out of 10 experts say unification may take more than a decade: survey

2017/11/09 13:32

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SEOUL, Nov. 9 (Yonhap) -- Seven out of 10 South Korean security experts said they believe possible unification with North Korea may take more than a decade, a poll showed Thursday.

The survey of 98 security and foreign affairs experts released by Hyundai Research Institute found that 72.4 percent of the respondents said unification between South and North Korea may take more than 11 years.

The survey showed that 20.4 percent thought unification may take six to 10 years while only 4.1 percent said they believe that the two Koreas may become one within the next five years.

Asked about the most desirable type of unification, 37.8 percent favored one country with two systems, while 35.7 percent preferred full-fledged unification. It showed that 25.5 percent said they favored a system in which people from South and North Korea could visit the other side freely.

The survey also found that 41.8 percent said they would be willing pay more than 110,000 won (US$98) per year to foot unification related costs, down from 57.7 percent a year earlier.

It showed that 8.2 percent of the respondents said they have no desire to pay anything.

Former conservative President Lee Myung-bak floated the idea of using taxpayer money to cushion the cost of unification, but no major progress has since been made in reagrds the to the so-called unification tax.

South Korea said unification would provide the Korean people with a springboard to prosperity by marrying South Korea's capital and technology with North Korea's rich natural resources.

Meanwhile, North Korea has long suspected that Seoul could be plotting to absorb Pyongyang. North Korea has never given up its goal of communizing the South.

The two Koreas still technically remain in a state of war, since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

The latest survey also found that 50 percent said the U.S. could provide the biggest assistance to unification. It showed that 33.7 percent said China could help unification, but 51 percent also pointed out that China could be the biggest obstacle to the process.

entropy@yna.co.kr

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