President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speak to reporters inside the Freedom House at the Demilitarized Zone, June 30, 2019.

President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speak to reporters inside the Freedom House at the Demilitarized Zone, June 30, 2019. (Shealah Craighead/White House)

CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — Nearly 64% of South Koreans say former President Donald Trump is unlikely to work actively toward curbing North Korea’s nuclear ambitions if he is reelected in November, according to a Gallup Korea poll released Monday.

The poll, commissioned by the Seoul-based Chey Institute for Advanced Studies, surveyed 1,043 respondents between Dec. 15 and Jan. 10. It had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

Of all respondents, 52.2% believe Trump is somewhat unlikely to actively work to resolve the communist regime’s nuclear problem; and 11.5% think it is very unlikely.

Another 30.8% agree Trump is somewhat likely to actively attempt to resolve the problem; only 5.4% said he was very likely to do so.

North Korea is estimated to have enough fissile material for up to 70 nuclear weapons, according to the annual Stockholm International Peace Research Institute yearbook published last year.

President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol have offered to negotiate with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un without preconditions but simultaneously vowed to answer his weapons tests with a stronger military alliance between Washington and Seoul.

Pyongyang fired 24 ballistic missiles last year and launched a solid-fueled, intermediate-range ballistic missile on Jan. 14. North Korea routinely claims it has developed nuclear warheads for its ICBMs; it last conducted a nuclear test on Sept. 3, 2017.

North Korea has rejected the U.S. and South Korea’s overtures and further distanced itself from the allies.

As president, Trump’s diplomatic approach toward North Korea differed from that of his predecessors. After saying he would be open to meet Kim in 2017, the two leaders met for three summits between 2018 and 2019.

During their last summit at the Demilitarized Zone dividing the Korean Peninsula on June 30, 2019, Trump briefly crossed the border with Kim, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to step foot into North Korea.

“I think the relationship that we’ve developed has meant so much to so many people,” Trump said at a joint press conference with Kim at the border. “And it’s just an honor to be with you, and it was an honor that you asked me to step over that line.”

Trump continued to speak highly of Kim after his tenure. In a June 3 post on his Truth Social app, Trump congratulated Kim after North Korea secured a seat on the World Health Organization’s executive board.

Representatives from 34 member countries are selected to serve three-year terms on the board, according to the WHO’s website. North Korea was among the 10 countries nominated to serve starting in 2023, including Australia, Barbados, Qatar, Switzerland and Ukraine.

Trump has a 13-delegate lead over Nikki Haley for the Republican Party nomination; Biden leads the Democratic Party with 55 delegates.

David Choi is based in South Korea and reports on the U.S. military and foreign policy. He served in the U.S. Army and California Army National Guard. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles.

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