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.
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.
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.
South Koreans in their 40s showed the strongest support for the president among all age groups, with an approval rating of 51%.
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.
Lee said Friday that the hotline restoration will "lead to the resumption of inter-Korean exchange and cooperation," according to the report.