Japan and South Korea – US allies and home to a combined 82,000 US troops – see the United States as a “major threat” to global security. The Koreans fear the US more than North Korea, and more than anyone fears Russia.
The world is a fearful place, a new Pew Research survey has found. Cyberattacks, Islamic terrorism, economic instability, and climate chaos are all considered threats to global security. However, the power and influence of the United States is keeping more people than ever before up at night, even as President Trump withdraws troops from Syria and boasts of strides towards peace in North Korea.
In 2013, only one-quarter of people across 22 nations saw the US as a threat to their countries. That figure jumped to 38 percent in 2017 and rose further to 45 percent last year.
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Among America’s allies, the results are striking. 67 percent of South Koreans view the US as a major threat to their security, level with the amount who view North Korea as a threat. In Japan, 66 percent view the US as a threat, while 73 percent fear North Korea. Of the 26 nations surveyed, the Japanese and South Koreans are the most fearful of US power, ahead of Mexico at 64 percent.
The survey was published on Sunday, as US President Donald Trump gears up for a second meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in two weeks’ time. Trump has hailed the meeting as “advancing the cause of peace,” despite the fact that the US intelligence community concluded recently that Kim remains “unlikely” to give up his nuclear weapons.
My representatives have just left North Korea after a very productive meeting and an agreed upon time and date for the second Summit with Kim Jong Un. It will take place in Hanoi, Vietnam, on February 27 & 28. I look forward to seeing Chairman Kim & advancing the cause of peace!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 9, 2019
For South Koreans, the potential for conflict between the US and North Korea makes the two nations equal threats.