More than half of South Koreans support the deployment of a U.S. anti-missile defense system despite controversy over its establishment, according to a poll released Friday.
The Gallup Korea survey this week showed 53 percent of the 1,003 respondents were in favor of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery while 32 percent were against it. The survey had a 3.1 percent margin of error.
This was an increase of 2 percentage points in favor and a drop of 8 percentage points against from the survey conducted in January when China was stepping up retaliation against South Korea over the deployment, Gallup Korea said.
"The current opinions under the new government are similar to the opinions surveyed right after the official announcement of the THAAD deployment in July last year," the pollster said. In the July poll, 50 percent of respondents approved the plan while 32 percent opposed it.
Almost half the THAAD battery supporters believed it is a defense system for national security and safety. Twenty-two percent expressed support for the deployment because it could take action against North Korea's nuclear provocations.
A quarter of the opposition said the missile shield is ineffective. About 20 percent of dissenters believed the THAAD system does nothing good for the country.
Among supporters of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP), 85 percent of respondents approved the deployment. About 75 percent of Bareun Party followers supported it.
Thirty-nine percent of followers of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea backed the deployment while 44 percent expressed opposition. Among Justice Party supporters, 60 percent were in favor.