Taiwanese have more positive view of U.S. than China: survey

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WASHINGTON (CNA) — People in Taiwan rate the United States more positively than China, by more than 30 percentage points, a survey released by the nonpartisan American think tank Pew Research Center on Tuesday showed.

About 68 percent of respondents held a favorable view of the U.S., while 35 percent had a similar view of China, according to opinion polling conducted in Taiwan by the Washington D.C. based institution from Oct. 16 to Nov. 30 last year.

The survey, which was the first of its kind conducted in Taiwan, also indicated “the Taiwan public overwhelmingly supported closer economic and political ties with the U.S.”

The conclusion was based on the fact that 85 percent of respondents expressed their support for closer economic ties with the U.S., compared to 52 percent who favored closer economic links with China.

The support for closer political ties with the U.S. and China was 79 percent and 36 percent, the poll results showed.

Although people are skeptical about closer political relations, half would embrace closer economic ties with China, the report on the survey said.

It also pointed out that younger adults in Taiwan tend to favor economic relations with the U.S. over relations with China more than their older counterparts and support closer relations with the U.S. in larger numbers.

Roughly eight-in-10 or more of each age group said they favored closer U.S.-Taiwan ties in economic matters, with 89 percent in the 18-29 age group, 90 percent in the 30-49 group, and 79 percent in the 50 and older group.

Only about 39 percent of respondents aged 18 to 29 said they would support closer economic ties with China, while 56 percent of those aged 30-49 and 55 percent of those 50 and older said the same, according to the survey.

“Younger people are particularly likely to support closer relations with the U.S., and they are less likely to embrace closer relations with China,” the report said.

In terms of national identity, the survey found that 66 percent of respondent see themselves as Taiwanese, while 28 percent identified themselves as both Taiwanese and Chinese, and a mere 4 percent see themselves as Chinese, the survey showed.

“These findings are consistent with other polls showing that people in Taiwan increasingly identify only as Taiwanese as opposed to both Taiwanese and Chinese or solely Chinese,” the report said.

Similar surveys were also conducted in six Asia-Pacific countries: Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines and South Korea.

The Philippines had the most favorable view of the U.S., at 80 percent, followed by South Korea at 77 percent, Japan at 68 percent, India at 60 percent, Australia at 50 percent, and Indonesia at 42 percent.

Less than 50 percent of respondents had a positive view of China in all six regional countries, with 42 percent in the Philippines, 36 percent in Indonesia and Australia, 34 percent in South Korea, 23 percent in Indonesia, and 14 percent in Japan, the survey showed.

Data for this report on public opinion in Taiwan is based on a telephone survey of 1,562 respondents, with fieldwork completed prior to the Jan. 11 presidential election and the start of the coronavirus outbreak in mainland China, according to the Pew Research Center.

A nonpartisan think tank, the center informs the public about issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world, it said, noting that it does not take policy positions.