Little support for larger US military levels in Asia-Pacific: survey

October 19, 2015
U.S. Army soldiers prepare for a military exercise in Pocheon, south of the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas, South Korea, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015. U.S. and South Korean forces launched Monday an annual joint military exercises, Ulchi Freedom Guardian, for a 12-day run to prepare for a possible North Korea's attack. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

U.S. Army soldiers prepare for a military exercise in Pocheon, south of the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

WASHINGTON (Yonhap) — Majorities of Americans, South Koreans and Japan are in support of maintaining a U.S. military presence in the Asia-Pacific region, but oppose increasing American troop strength, a survey showed Monday.

The Chicago Council survey showed that 64 percent of Americans, 61 percent of South Koreans and 53 percent of Japanese favor maintaining the U.S. military presence, but only 11 percent of Americans, 14 percent of South Koreans and 9 percent of Japanese support increasing American troop levels in the region.

A majority of Chinese (58 percent) say the U.S. military presence should be decreased, it showed.

Asked whether U.S. troops should be maintained on the Korean Peninsula in the event of unification, 32 percent of Americans said yes while 49 percent of South Koreans also believed that American troops should continue to have a presence on the peninsula.

About 44 percent of South Koreans and Americans said the U.S. should end its troop presence after unification. About 66 percent of Chinese also believe that there would be no need for U.S. troops to remain on the peninsula, the survey showed.

On bilateral relations, 98 percent of South Koreans and 93 percent of Japanese view relations with the United States as important, while 83 percent of Americans view relations with South Korea as important and 88 percent said relations with Tokyo are important.

The survey also showed distrust between South Korea and Japan.

While 48 percent of South Koreans cite confidence in Japan to responsibly handle world problems, just 25 percent of Japanese say they trust South Korea to do the same.

The survey also showed that 66 percent of Americans say South Korea is a reliable partner and 78 percent say the same about Japan. But only 36 percent of Americans cite confidence in South Korea to responsibly handle world problems compared to 58 percent who cite confidence in Japan.

The survey was conducted from April to September with responses from 1,010 South Korean, 2,034 American, 3,142 Chinese and 1,000 Japanese adults.

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