In this study South Koreans’ views on neighboring countries have been analyzed using public opinion survey data provided by the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies of Seoul National University.
One of the most remarkable, if not surprising, findings from the surveys is that South Koreans hold an extremely favorable view of the United States. Another important and closely related finding is that, conversely, South Koreans hold a largely negative view of China. These findings are in stark contrast with public opinions in the United States
and China. In the United States there is a growing perception that South Korea is now heavily pro-Chinese, whereas in China there are growing expectations of South Korea as a cooperation partner. Since these notions are not consistent with the views that South Koreans hold on the United States and China, efforts to need to be made to communicate and explain these inconsistencies.
Another important finding from the statistical analysis of the South Korean public opinion survey data is that South Koreans’ views on neighboring countries cannot really be explained in terms of individual variables such as values or knowledge. This uggests that factors other than individual characteristics determine South Koreans’ views on neighboring countries.