The killings, the hunger and the brutality of the Korean war may have ended over half a century ago but they remain etched in the memories of older South Koreans. Many, like Oh Zhe-jung, a 69-year-old retired economist, remain unrelentingly hostile to communist North Korea, which ignited the three-year conflict by invading the South in 1950. 'After the invasion, the North Koreans didn't give us food for three months. Once a distant relative came to try and get something to eat at our house. A neighbour informed the North Koreans and they took our relative away to the hills nearby. Later I heard they had told him to sell his land and when he refused, they shot him,' Mr Oh said. But Mr Oh is a member of a declining minority. Most South Koreans now view the North as a partner for dialogue and assistance, rather than an enemy to be confronted, according to a new report by the International Crisis Group (ICG), a think-tank. The ICG examined South Korean's perceptions of the North and said young South Koreans were likely to view it not as a rival but a brother to be helped. 'The generation that lived through the Korean war is being supplanted by the generation that led the fight for democratisation in the 1980s. Younger South Koreans are less easily swayed by appeals to anti-communism and less reflexively pro-American,' according to the report. It says confrontation with the North has largely been replaced by an emphasis on co-operation and reconciliation. 'The older generation thinks we have a one-sided love affair with North Korea, but I still insist on dialogue, dialogue and dialogue. It is the only way to achieve things,' said officer worker Lee Soo-jung, 34. These differences in attitudes towards North Korea have created bitter divisions within South Korean society. 'I think of North Koreans first and foremost as communists, but the young think they are good people and ask what relevance it is that they are communists,' said Mr Oh. Shifting public opinion has been matched by changes in government policy. South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun has continued with his predecessor's policy of engaging North Korea, abandoning the anti-communist stance of previous leaders. But the older generation is unconvinced. 'The North Koreans are making a laughing stock of us,' said Mr Oh. International negotiations to persuade Pyongyang to give up its suspected nuclear weapons' programme are stalled. Seoul's policy of reconciliation with North Korea has also caused friction with Washington, which favours a hardline approach. The ICG warns Washington must be aware of the changing attitudes if it is to reduce anti-Americanism in the South and formulate a strategy for dealing with the North.