or the first time, a new survey has found that the country that South Koreans fear the most is not North Korea, but China.
The survey, released on Tuesday by the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University, asked 1,200 South Korean men and women what in their opinion was the country that posed the greatest threat to peace on the Korean peninsula.
32.8 percent said North Korea. 46.4 percent said China.
This marks the first time since the annual survey began in 2007 that another country has snatched away the top spot from the DPRK.
With multiple summits being held between South Korean president Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un over the past year, it appears that South Koreans are growing less and less wary of the regime in Pyongyang. In last year’s survey, 63.7 percent of respondents named North Korea as the primary threat to peace in the region.
Meanwhile, it’s been an extremely bumpy few years for South Korea-China relations with Beijing not taking kindly to Seoul’s decision to deploy the US-backed THAAD missile defense system, responding by targeting South Korean businesses in China and South Korea’s tourism industry, which relies heavily on Chinese visitors.
Last year, another survey found that Beijing’s harsh response to the THAAD deployment had caused China to become more hated in the country than Japan, Korea’s former colonizer.