Thu, Apr 23, 2009 - Page 1 News List

Poll reveals many believe weapons needed for leverage

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

A poll released by the Global Views Survey Research Center yesterday showed that 48.3 percent of people think Taiwan needs to buy better defensive weapons to increase with Beijing leverage at the negotiation table.

Meanwhile, 36.8 percent said buying better weapons was not necessary because of cross-strait rapprochement.

While Taipei depends on Washington for arms sales, only 17 percent of respondents said they wanted the US to help Taiwan strengthen its defense capabilities.

In order of importance, respondents said they would like to see Washington strengthen economic relations with Taiwan, assist Taiwan to participate in international organizations, help both sides of the Taiwan Strait to sign a peace agreement, encourage Beijing to dismantle missiles targeting Taiwan, and help Taiwan build its defense capability.

On Taiwan’s participation in international organizations, 63.1 percent of respondents said that if Taiwan could attend the World Health Assembly as an observer, it would be a significant breakthrough.

As to the annual renewal of observer status contingent on Beijing’s approval, 70.8 percent said only participation could bring opportunities to strive for more international space. Only 15 percent said the country should not attempt to maintain Taiwan’s sovereignty.

Sixty-four percent of respondents said Beijing was unlikely to use military force against Taiwan, while 24.9 percent said it was likely to do so.

In April 2004, 47.7 percent of pan-blue supporters had said the odds of a military assault was likely. The number dropped to 17.3 percent this time around.

Pan-green supporters, however, were more concerned. While 16.6 percent then said they were worried about a war in the Taiwan Strait, the figure jumped to 40.7 percent this year.

The poll also showed that 11 months into President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) presidency, the majority of the people were dissatisfied with his performance and that of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers.

 Ma’s dissatisfaction rate was 0.7 percent less than last month. Since Ma took office in May last year, Ma’s rate of dissatisfaction reached the highest in October last year at 67.6 percent and the lowest at 46.2 percent in last June.

 Although the KMT occupies a three-quarter majority in the legislature, 58.7 of the respondents said they were unhappy with the performance of KMT lawmakers. Only 23.8 percent said they were happy. The figure of dissatisfaction rate signified a 2.8 percent drop from that of last month.

 Pollsters said it might have something to do with the diminishing negative impact of the party’s defeat in last month’s legislative by-election in Miaoli and the positive influence of its victory in the legislative by-election in Taipei City's Daan District (大安).

The poll of 1,017 adults was conducted between last Wednesday and Friday.

There was a margin of error of 3.1 percent.

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