Friday’s historic summit in the Korean demilitarized zone has had an enormous impact on public confidence in the peace process among South Koreans. Many went into the summit uncertain what it would bring, but a large majority came out optimistic.
Polls among South Koreans showed, ahead of the summit, only 14.7% thought denuclearization and peace would a real possibility. After the successful summit, that figured soared to 64.7%. This is the most dramatic metric yet available on how impactful the summit really was.
Live television broadcasts of the meeting between North Korea’s Kim Jung-un and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in gave the public a new look at their neighbors to the north, after decades of acrimony from Kim’s father and grandfather.
Kim’s cordial greeting of Moon, the handshake, and the two walking hand-in-hand across the border within the truce village left a powerful impression on the public. It led to a boost in South Korea’s stock market as many see peace on the horizon.
It was also good for President Moon. Though his polling numbers weren’t in the teens like the peace prospects figure, Moon too saw his popularity rise to a near-term high. 70% of South Koreans now support Moon, who campaigned on pushing a peace deal.