Poll shows S. Koreans want gov't to resume inter-Korean talks

SEOUL, June 21 (Yonhap) -- More than half of South Koreans want their government to take action to resume dialogue with North Korea despite the last-minute cancellation of high-level talks last week, a poll showed Friday.

According to the poll on 1,000 South Koreans by the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, 53.4 percent said Seoul must take active steps to engage Pyongyang. The nationwide survey showed that 36 percent said there is no need for the government to try and talk with the communist country.

The four-day survey starting June 16 took place five days after high-level inter-Korean talks, meant to ease tensions on the peninsula, fell through over a disagreement on the ranks of the chief negotiators from each side.

The talks would have been the first senior-level meeting between the two Koreas in six years and would have touched on matters such as the resumption of operations of the suspended Kaesong industrial complex, Mount Kumgang tours and reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

"The poll may reflect a wish by the public to stabilize cross-border relations that have hit a low ebb in the past couple of months," an analyst at the institute said.

The findings, meanwhile, showed that 48.4 percent of the respondents believed the North was at fault for the aborted high-level talks, with 40.2 percent saying both Koreas were in the wrong.

It said there was a clear divide in who was mainly to blame for the talks falling through; people in their 50s and 60s clearly pointed fingers at the North, while those in their 20s and 30s said both sides made a mistake, allowing the dispute over ranks to prevent the talks from going forward.

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