Most Taiwanese back security network for cross-strait exchanges: poll

TAIPEI (CNA) – Nearly 90 percent of the people in Taiwan support a recent proposal by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) to set up a three-part security network for cross-Taiwan Strait exchanges, according to a survey released Wednesday.

The poll, conducted by the Cross-Strait Policy Association, found that 87.3 percent of Taiwan’s people are in favor of the proposal, while 9.4 percent disapprove and 3.3 percent have no opinion on it.

The three-part security network, which Tsai proposed in her New Year’s Day address, would include measures to strengthen security on people’s livelihoods, improve information security and enhance security to protect democracy in cross-strait interactions.

The poll also showed that 68.5 percent of the Taiwan public thinks Beijing’s “one China principle” leaves no space for the existence of the Republic of China (Taiwan), while 25.5 percent hold the opposite view, and 6 percent have no opinion.

According to the poll, 80.9 percent Taiwanese disapprove of the “one country, two systems” unification formula proposed by China, while 13.7 percent support it and 5.4 percent prefer not to express their views.

On the issue of China’s renewed call for peaceful unification with Taiwan but without a pledge to abandon the option of force, 82.4 percent of Taiwanese think it not helpful to the development of cross-strait relations, 12.5 percent think it is, and 5 percent have no opinion on that matter, according to the poll.

It also found that 55.7 percent of the Taiwan people hold the view that the “1992 consensus” does not exist, while 31.4 percent think it does.

The “1992 consensus” refers to a tacit agreement reached in 1992 between the then Kuomintang (KMT) government of Taiwan and Chinese communist officials. The agreement has been consistently interpreted by the KMT to mean that both sides of the Taiwan Strait acknowledge there is only “one China,” with each side free to interpret what “China” means.

The questions in the poll made reference to a speech by Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) on Jan. 2 in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of a message China sent to Taiwan in 1979 calling for unification and an end to military confrontation.

In Xi’s speech, he defined the “1992 consensus” as “the two sides of the strait belonging to one China and working together to seek the unification of the nation.” The “one country, two systems” formula is the best approach to achieving reunification, he said.

In response to his speech, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said she has never accepted the so-called “1992 consensus” and will never do so since that phrase has been defined by China as the ‘one country, two systems’ mechanism and has left no flexibility for interpretation.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said on Jan. 3 that there never was a “1992 consensus” between Taiwan and China.

In the poll by the Cross-Strait Policy Association, 61.6 percent of the Taiwan people said they were satisfied with Tsai’s response to Xi’s Jan. 2 speech on cross-strait relations, while 28.2 percent said they were not, and 10.2 percent did not express an opinion.

The survey also showed 78 percent public support for Tsai’s statement that any cross-strait negotiations on political issues must carried out by governments or government-authorized agencies.

Some 15.4 percent of the public disagrees with that view, while 6.6 percent have no opinion on it, according to the poll.

It also showed 87.3 percent public support for Tsai’s “four musts” with regard to cross-strait exchanges, and 10.9 percent disapproval.

Tsai said China must accept the reality of the existence of the Republic of China (Taiwan), respect the commitment of the 23 million people of Taiwan to freedom and democracy, resolve cross-strait differences peacefully and equitably, and negotiate with Taiwan’s government or an organization with a government mandate.

After the speeches by the leaders of Taiwan and China, Tsai’s approval rating was 48.4 percent, while her disapproval rating was 46.7 percent, according to the poll.

It found that public satisfaction with Tsai’s general performance is 49.6 percent, and dissatisfaction is 45.3 percent.

The telephone poll was conducted Jan. 5-6 among 1,074 adults. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.99 percentage points and a 95 percent confidence level.

By Miao Zong-han and Evelyn Kao