Human Rights Versus National Security in Public Opinion on Foreign Affairs South Korea Views of North Korea 2008-2019
While human rights are an integral part of democratic rule, the extent that public opinion in democracies prioritize human rights in foreign countries relative to other competing foreign policy priorities is not clear. This is particularly the case when a country poses a serious security threat and there are incentives to improve relations with the regime in power. To assess whether and how the public values human rights vis-a-vis national security in foreign affairs, this paper utilizes survey questions that capture the public's relative preferences between the two in South Korean public opinion regarding relations with North Korea. The findings shed light on the trade-off that exists in attempts to improve relations with a regime that is both a serious security threat and a perpetrator of grave human rights violations.
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