Sixty Percent in Taiwan Poll Want US Military Alliance to Counter China

Sixty Percent in Taiwan Poll Want US Military Alliance to Counter China

Nearly six in 10 respondents to a recent survey in Taiwan said they would favor a military alliance with the United States, an unlikely agreement that reflects America’s decades-long role as the island’s strongest security guarantor.

The survey comes amid heightened cross-strait tensions between Taipei and Beijing, with the latter warning recently that Taiwanese voters faced a choice between peace or war. Chinese President Xi Jinping has said unification with Taiwan is inevitable, and his country regularly carries out military exercises in the waters and airspace around the self-ruled island.

The poll, commissioned by the Taiwan Independence Alliance and the Taiwan Security Association, asked respondents if they would support a military alliance with the U.S. Of the respondents, 41.8 percent strongly agreed with this prospect and 17.5 percent moderately agreed, giving a total of about 60 percent at least somewhat in favor of a U.S.-Taipei alliance. Another 21.3 percent said they were neutral.

A file photo of the Taipei City skyline. A recent poll suggested about 60 percent of Taiwanese would at least somewhat support a military alliance with the U.S.
plus49/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images
U.S. President Joe Biden has on several occasions stated the U.S. would indeed come to Taiwan’s aid if needed, though officials in his administration later walked back these claims.

The survey also asked for respondents’ views on independence. China has said any official declaration of independence by Taiwan would trigger war. Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has said Taiwan, which has its own democratic system of government, army and diplomatic relations, is already independent.

On the question: “Do you support Taiwan’s independence, maintenance of the status quo [across the Taiwan Strait] or reunification with China?” 44.3 percent said they wanted to maintain the status quo forever, 35.8 percent said they wanted to maintain the status quo and work toward independence, and 3.8 percent sought independence as soon as possible.

A total of 11.5 percent favored maintaining the status quo and moving toward unification with China, 0.7 percent said they want to unify with China as soon as possible, and 4 percent expressed no opinion.

Although the U.S. is Taiwan’s main security provider, required by the Taiwan Relations Act to ensure it has the capacity to defend itself, moves to re-establish diplomatic relations or create a formal official military alliance are unlikely.

Washington has for decades carefully maintained the “strategic ambiguity” that keeps China—and Taiwan—uncertain as to whether the U.S. would commit its own forces to come to Taiwan’s defense in the event of an invasion.

On the question of the Taiwanese government working to enter into official diplomatic ties with Washington, 29.5 percent of those polled said they strongly agreed, while 17.9 percent moderately agreed, and 30.5 percent were neutral.

The U.S. maintains de facto diplomatic ties with Taiwan, but broke off official diplomatic recognition in favor of China in 1979.

The poll was carried out by Focus Survey Research, which from November 20-22 gathered 1,084 valid samples, half by mobile phone and half by landline. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.98 percent and a confidence level of 95 percent.

Uncommon KnowledgeNewsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.  » …
Read More

0 I like it
0 I don't like it