Poll: Americans Cautiously Supportive of North Korea Talks

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, Korea Summit Press Pool via AP, File)

(CN) – Americans overwhelmingly support negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear program, despite being skeptical of whether the country’s leaders are serious about addressing international concerns about nuclear weapons, the Pew Research Center reported Thursday.

Seventy-one percent of Americans say they approve of the U.S. negotiating directly with North Korea to come to an agreement about their nuclear program, and only 21 percent disapprove, according to a Pew report based on a survey of more than 1,500 Americans conducted at the end of April.

Americans are more supportive of negotiations with North Korea today than they were of direct negotiations with Iran during Barack Obama’s administration. In March 2015, only 49 percent of American supported negotiating directly with Iran over its nuclear program.

The jump in support for nuclear negotiations comes primarily from Republicans. While 85 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents today approve of the Trump administration negotiating with North Korea, only 40 percent approved of negotiations with Iran three years ago.

Although the majority of the public approves of negotiations with North Korea, there is substantial skepticism about whether North Korea is serious about addressing international concerns relating to its nuclear program. Forty-nine percent of the public, including 50 percent of Republicans and 49 percent of Democrats, believe North Korea is not serious about dealing with their nuclear enrichment program.

The public is much more aware of negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea than it was of negotiations between the U.S. and Iran. Forty-four percent of Americans say they have heard “a lot” about U.S.-North Korea negotiations, while only 27 percent of Americans in 2015 said the same about talks with Iran.

The Pew survey also examined the American public’s changing views on whether the U.S. does too much or too little globally, and how the public views Russia and China.

Two years ago, 41 percent of Americans believed that the U.S. did too much globally, but today, only 30 percent believe the country does too much to solve world problems.

Democrats increasingly think that the U.S. is doing too little, while Republicans increasingly believe that it is doing the right amount globally.

Nearly four in 10 Americans say Russia is a “serious problem” but don’t consider the country to be an adversary. Public views on Russia were about the same in January 2017, shortly before President Donald Trump took office.

Adults younger than 50 years old are less likely than older adults to see China as a problem. Sixty-eight percent of Americans over 50 think China is a serious problem and 19 percent see China as an adversary. Fifty-one percent of younger Americans think China is a serious problem and 13 percent consider the country an adversary.

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