New poll shows many in the U.S. support peaceful engagement with North Korea and China

Layne Mullett
Director of Media Relations


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Washington, DC (February 14, 2024) A new public opinion poll commissioned by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and conducted by The Harris Poll examined U.S. public attitudes toward peace and humanitarian issues with the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea (DPRK) and China. Like last year’s AFSC/Harris Poll survey and a 2021 AFSC/IPSOS poll, a majority of adults living in the U.S. continue to believe the U.S. government should work with other countries to strengthen relationships and reduce tensions.

The Poll indicates that a majority of the U.S. public (73%) believe the U.S. government should work with North Korea to repatriate remains of U.S. service members left in North Korea after the Korean War. A strong majority (69%) agree that the U.S. president should offer to hold meeting with the North Korean leader, and 62% say that the U.S. should engage in dialogue with China as much as possible to reduce tensions.

“This study continues to show that people in the U.S. support engagement and diplomacy in the region,” said Beth Hallowell, AFSC’s director of research and analytics. “Even in places where we saw dips in support from 2023 to 2024, support for nonviolent engagement – reuniting families with their loved ones’ remains, lifting sanctions, and talks between government officials – remains high.”

AFSC has been engaged with North Korea since 1980, when it became the first U.S. public affairs organization to enter the country. As a Quaker organization, AFSC works to build mutual understanding and contribute to reduction of tensions between the U.S. and North Korea. As part of that work, AFSC conducts periodic polling to capture the attitudes of U.S. voters towards engagement with North Korea, China, and the region.

The 2024 poll indicates that the U.S. public continues to agree that the U.S. should lift sanctions when they violate international law, interfere with humanitarian aid and global health, and damage ordinary people’s livelihoods. More than half of U.S. adults (59%) agree that the U.S. should lift sanctions if they violate international legal principles.

The poll shows that the support for ending the Korean War by signing a peace treaty remains higher than in 2021, but it has dipped since 2023. In 2024, about half of U.S. adults (48%) believe the U.S. government should end the war, still up from 2021 (41%) but down from 2023 (52%). Only 30% of U.S. adults support remaining in a state of war, while 22% don’t know.

“People living in the U.S. want conflict reduction, dialogue, and cooperation with the DPRK and China; this is clear from data. The overwhelming support for reuniting divided families, repatriating remains of U.S. servicemembers, people-to-people exchange, and diplomatic engagement form the basis for AFSC’s longstanding advocacy for cooperation and dialogue with the DPRK. While the U.S. government has taken some steps in recent years to carve out space for humanitarian assistance, it still needs to further loosen restrictions on aid groups and not continue to impose broad-based economic sanctions,” said Jennifer Deibert, AFSC’s DPRK Program Director. 

The 2024 survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of AFSC from January 23 – 25, 2024 among 2,078 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within +/- 2.5 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. You can read the entire report here


The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) promotes a world free of violence, inequality, and oppression. Guided by the Quaker belief in the divine light within each person, we nurture the seeds of change and the respect for human life to fundamentally transform our societies and institutions. We work with people and partners worldwide, of all faiths and backgrounds, to meet urgent community needs, challenge injustice, and build peace.