Conversations on international relations inevitably rely on simplifications, and the discourse on South Korea is no exemption: “Korea does this, Korea thinks that”. Reality is, of course, much more complex with popular sentiment frequently diverging from foreign policy, and contrasting views within public opinion itself. To learn more about how Koreans view their neighbors in East Asia, what they think about their government’s foreign policy, and how these views differ within the general population, we had the privilege of interviewing Karl Friedhoff.
Karl is a Program Officer at the Center for Public Opinion and Quantitative Research at the Asan Institute in Seoul. He coauthored various reports and publications on public opinion and polling in Korea. Prior to his current position, Karl interned with the Korea Economic Institute in Washington D.C. and was a Program Assistant at the Institute for Global Economics in Seoul. He earned his masters’ degree from Seoul National University in 2010.
People in their 40’s are much more likely to see North Korea as “one of us”, but people in their 20’s and 60’s are much more likely to see it as an enemy.
The interview was conducted on November 26th, 2014 in Seoul.