Majority of Americans see North Korea as threat, support U.S. troops

SEOUL, Oct. 6 (UPI) — A survey from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs shows 70 percent of Americans support a U.S. troop presence in South Korea, the highest level of support the military has received since the poll has been conducted.

According to the new poll, the majority of respondents said they approve of U.S. military involvement in South Korea. A majority of respondents, or 60 percent, also said North Korea poses a serious threat to the United States, Yonhap reported Thursday.

The online survey of 2,061 U.S. adults taken June 10-27 shows the highest level of support of U.S. troops in South Korea in recent years. In 2014, 64 percent of Americans said they approved of U.S. troops in Korea, which was also an increase from 2012, when 60 percent of respondents showed support.

The respondents’ support for Korea-based U.S. troops also ranked higher than their backing for a similar military presence in Japan, Germany or Australia, according to the report.

Support for troops in Korea is also bipartisan.

In the survey, 76 percent of respondents who identified themselves as Republican and 70 percent of those surveyed who said they were Democrats showed support.

Even among respondents who said they support Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, 72 percent say U.S. troops need to stay on the Korean peninsula.

In early stages of his campaign Trump had slammed South Korea and Japan, accusing the countries of not paying for defense costs, although both Seoul and Tokyo have long shared the cost of stationing U.S. forces.

Survey respondents also ranked North Korea as least favorable among 12 countries, giving Pyongyang 19 out of 100 points.

That score is lower than the 23 points North Korea received in 2014, and lower than Iran, which scored 26 points.

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