Wed, Aug 16, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Many insulted by Chad's diplomatic switch: survey

By Jewel Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sixty-five percent of the public considered Chad's decision to sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan on the eve of Premier Su Tseng-chang's (蘇貞昌) planned visit there to have been an insult to all of the people of Taiwan, according to a survey released by the Taiwan Thinktank yesterday.

The poll also suggested that 79 percent of those surveyed supported applying for UN membership using the name "Taiwan" in the wake of the diplomatic break with Chad.

The poll was conducted by telephone on Aug. 10 and Aug. 11 and questioned 1,072 people aged 20 or older.

According to the poll, 81.4 percent of those questioned were aware of the diplomatic switch by Chad.

While 42.1 percent of respondents thought China's oppression and bribery of Chad was the main source of Taiwan's diplomatic frustration, 24.4 percent believed it was because of the government's mistaken diplomatic strategy.

The poll also found that about 67.9 percent of respondents thought that Taiwan should continue to try to develop diplomatic ties with other countries, even though it might cause tension between Taiwan and China.

Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman Huang Wei-feng (黃偉峰), who attended the press conference held to publicized the survey yesterday, said that China's relentless diplomatic suppression of Taiwan had hurt cross-strait exchanges.

"The more harshly the Beijing authorities suppress Taiwan's international space, the more difficult it will be to convince the people of Taiwan that China sincerely hopes to improve relations with Taiwan," Huang said.

Chen Ming-tung (陳明通), a professor of political science at National Taiwan University, said he was surprised that most of those polled thought that China's action had not targeted at Su, but rather the people of Taiwan.

"Only 3.8 percent of those polled thought that Beijing meant to humiliate Su, which shows that the people of Taiwan have a clear idea about China's attempt to squeeze Taiwan's space," Chen said.

"The Beijing authorities should listen to the voices of Taiwanese and face squarely the damage its persecution of Taiwan causes to cross-strait relations," he said.

Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政), an associate professor of political science at Soochow University, said that Beijing's provocative action was actually a test to determine the reactions of the public and the government.

"In addition to stirring the antipathy of the people of Taiwan, Beijing's purpose was also to see ... how the Taiwanese government adjusts its policy toward China," Lo said.

Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明), an assistant research fellow in political science at Academia Sinica, told the press conference that Chad's diplomatic break with Taiwan was due to the internal struggle in China, between the officials in charge of cross-strait affairs and those in charge of diplomatic affairs.

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