Aug. 15 (UPI) -- More South Koreans view the Kim Jong Un regime in a positive light following increased diplomacy and summits at Panmunjom -- but they are less likely to look forward to unification, according to two independently conducted surveys.
According to a KBS survey of more than 1,000 respondents in August, fewer South Koreans expressed hostility toward the North Korean government, and some even said they felt positive toward Pyongyang.
About 20 percent of those polled said they had "favorable" views of the regime, 35 percent said they had negative feelings, while about 44 percent said they were indifferent, KBS reported Wednesday.
Feelings of hostility have dropped 53 percent from 2017, while those who said they thought positively of North Korea was up 18 percent.
Kim Sung-joon, a South Korean resident of Gwangju, told KBS the summits between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and a North Korean statement about giving up nuclear weapons had changed his opinion. North Korea "seemed to be changing," he said.
The KBS poll also showed 55 percent of South Korean respondents were optimistic about resolving the North Korean nuclear issue, up from 45 percent in 2017. But positive responses to the question of Korean unification were down 66 percent from 2017.
Lim Jeong-hyeon, a resident of Uiwang City in Gyeonggi Province, said she knows unification is "obviously the right thing to do," but the costs of unification would fall upon members of South Korea's younger generation.
A separate survey conducted by the country's National Youth Policy Institute, taken in July, showed young South Koreans are less enthusiastic about unification than they were 10 years ago.
The percentage of respondents in the institute's survey who said "unification must definitely happen" was down 11 percentage points from a decade ago.
About a third of respondents also said the first thing that came to their mind when North Korea is mentioned was "nuclear weapons," the Munhwa Ilbo reported this week.
Kim and Moon are expected to hold their third summit in Pyongyang in September.