SEOUL – Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is less popular than North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in South Korea, a survey says.
In the Gallup Korea survey released Friday, 5 percent of respondents voiced positive views of Abe, which is less than the 10 percent who said they had good impressions of Kim.
Respondents with negative impressions of Abe came in at 89 percent, exceeding the 83 percent who felt the same way about Kim.
The survey, conducted over three days from Tuesday, covered some 1,000 people 19 or older.
U.S. President Donald Trump garnered a positive rating from 24 percent of the respondents but an unfavorability rating of 67 percent.
Chinese President Xi Jinping was popular with 19 percent of those surveyed, though 66 percent voiced negative views of him.
Russian President Vladimir Putin received favorable ratings from 13 percent, with 68 percent saying they had negative impressions of him.
The ratio of respondents holding Abe in high regard has hovered between around 3 percent and 6 percent in the four surveys conducted since August 2013, with the ratio for those who view him unfavorably holding steady at 89 percent to 90 percent.
With an inter-Korean summit scheduled for April and a meeting between Trump and Kim likely to be held by the end of May, the survey also examined the public’s attitude toward the North Korean nuclear crisis.
Asked whether Pyongyang’s apparent shift in policy represented real change, 53 percent said yes, up from 28 percent in the previous survey in January, and 34 percent said no, down from 65 percent in the same survey.
Still, the survey also said that South Koreans are largely unconvinced that North Korea will ultimately part with its nuclear weapons program. Just 22 percent said they believed the North would do so, up from 6 percent, and 64 percent said it would never give it up, down from 90 percent.