The BBC has been tracking opinions about countries’ influence in the world over three years (2005 – 2007). During that time most ratings have remained relatively stable. North Korea is seen as a mainly negative influence in the world. Out of 27 countries polled, 20 have mostly negative views, while five lean towards seeing it positively, and two are divided. On average, 48 percent see North Korea as a negative influence and 19 percent believe it has a positive influence.
Some of the most negative views of North Korea can be seen in North America and Western Europe. Nearly three-quarters in Canada (74%) and the United States (73%) see North Korea as having a negative influence. An overwhelming majority in Germany (87%), France (75%), Great Britain (70%), Italy (70%), and Portugal (68%) have negative views of North Korea’s influence in the world. In the Asia/Pacific region, Australians (86%) and South Koreans (78%) are also quite critical.
No country has a majority with a positive view of North Korea, but views lean slightly positive in a number of Muslim countries including Lebanon (38%), Turkey (31%), and the UAE (29%). Nigeria (42%) and India (26%), which have large Muslim populations, also lean positive. In general, Muslims throughout the world lean towards a positive view of North Korea (34% positive to 26% negative). This may be an expression of support for the way that North Korea has stood up to the US in regards to its nuclear program. Egyptians, however, are evenly divided (18% positive, 18% negative), with nearly two-thirds not taking a position. Indonesians are also divided (40% positive, 37% negative).
Two key countries that have often stood by North Korea also lean negative on its influence—Russia (37% negative, 20% positive) and China (39% negative, 34% positive).
The poll was conducted for the BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. GlobeScan coordinated the fieldwork between November 2006 and January 2007. Each country’s rating is based on half-samples.