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Moon Jae-in's approval rating holds steady after inter-Korea hotline restored

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has maintained a 40% approval rating this month. File Photo by Erin Scott/UPI
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has maintained a 40% approval rating this month. File Photo by Erin Scott/UPI | License Photo

July 30 (UPI) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in's overall approval rating remained at 40% this week after the restoration of an inter-Korean communication hotline that was severed last year.

A new Gallup Korea poll conducted Tuesday to Thursday showed that Moon's rating remained the same as last week, but more people gave high marks for inter-Korean relations, News 1 reported Friday.

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The survey of 1,000 South Koreans age 18 and over showed that 5% of people viewing the president favorably cited the "South's relations with North Korea" as the reason for their approval, up 4 percentage points from the previous week.

The percentage of respondents who disapprove of the president's performance remains higher, however. About 53% of those surveyed say they have negative views of the president, versus 40% of people who said they approve, according to the report.

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Moon's approval rating plummeted to the low 30% range in the aftermath of a government-linked real estate scandal involving state employees who engaged in illegal land speculation.

The president's approval rating was lowest among South Koreans in their 60s at 32%, followed by people in their 20s, according to the poll.

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South Koreans in their 40s showed the strongest support for the president among all age groups, with an approval rating of 51%.

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The presidential Blue House confirmed the reopening of the hotline earlier this week and the exchange of personal letters between Moon and Kim Jong Un.

Unification Minister Lee In-young said Friday that Seoul plans to address the "urgent situation" in North Korea and arrive at a decision on the delivery of medicines and foods to the isolated country, Korea Economic Daily reported.

The South suspended shipments to North Korea after the slaying of a South Korean fisheries ministry officer in the North in September.

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Lee said Friday that the hotline restoration will "lead to the resumption of inter-Korean exchange and cooperation," according to the report.

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