At AFSC, we know our strength comes from our ability to bring people together from different places and different cultures. For everyone to thrive, we need to work together to build a better and more peaceful future, just like we’ve done in the past.
These values are at the heart of AFSC’s decades of work for peace in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK, or North Korea) and China. Our most recent research shows that many people agree we must work together to build relationships and reduce tensions.
AFSC commissioned an opinion poll of 2,063 adults in the U.S., conducted by The Harris Poll in January. Here are some of the key findings from this study:
Support for repatriation of service members’ remains is up since 2021. In our 2023 poll, 76% of respondents agreed that the U.S. government should work with North Korea to repatriate the remains of U.S. service members left behind in North Korea after the Korean War. This support has also grown since our 2021 poll, which showed 71% support repatriation of the service members’ remains.
More than two-thirds of the U.S. public support talks between U.S. and North Korea. 68% of respondents agreed that the U.S. president should offer to hold diplomatic talks with the North Korean leader. As well, about two-thirds of adults in the U.S. agree that the U.S. government should work with North Korea to reunite Korean-Americans with their North Korean family members (66%).
About half of respondents support ending the Korean War with a peace agreement. In our 2023 poll, 52% of respondents agreed that the U.S. government should end the Korean War with a peace agreement. This support has grown since our 2021 poll, which showed only 41% support.
Since 2021, U.S. public support has increased for lifting sanctions that harm people’s lives and livelihoods. More than half of respondents agree that sanctions should be lifted if they harm people’s livelihoods (58%) or interfere with humanitarian aid and global public health (62%). 50% of respondents agree we should lift sanctions if they hinder cooperation on climate change while 60% agree we should lift sanctions if they violate international law.
Most of the U.S. public supports some kinds of people-to-people exchanges. In our 2023 poll, 63% of the public agree that privately funded charities should be allowed to deliver humanitarian assistance to the people of North Korea, while 56% agree that the U.S. government should allow U.S. and North Korean faith and religious communities to conduct people-to-people exchanges between leaders and members of those communities. About half (52%) agree that the U.S. government should allow colleges, universities, and privately funded educational organizations to conduct exchanges between students and scientists.
Most people agree that we should engage in talks with China. 67% of the U.S. public agree that the U.S. government should engage in dialogue with China as much as possible to reduce tensions—up 5% since our 2021 poll. 63% agree that we should engage in talks to promote cooperation instead of competition.
These findings give us hope for our work building bridges across places and peoples. Want to get involved? Join us in our work to support humanitarian cooperation and dialogue.