More than 64 percent of people polled in a Taiwan Indicator Survey Research (TISR) poll are opposed to eventual unification with China, while 19.5 percent are for it, results showed on Friday.
The survey was conducted on Monday and Tuesday, and followed the historic meeting between Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) and China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) in the Chinese city of Nanjing on Feb. 11. The occasion marked the first time in 65 years that government ministers from across the Taiwan Strait held talks in their official capacities.
The TISR poll showed that 61.6 percent of respondents think the council and the TAO should hold regular talks, while 37.6 percent felt that Wang and Zhang addressing each other by their official titles did not constitute official recognition of either government’s sovereign status, compared with 36.8 percent who felt otherwise.
Asked whether Taiwan should declare independence and become a new country, 47.8 percent of participants in the survey said they were in favor of ultimate independence, with 34.1 percent against.
The poll also sought to gauge the level of trust Taiwanese feel toward Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平). It found that 17.7 percent of respondents said they trust Xi, while 51.4 percent said they do not.
After cross-analyzing the results to surmise the views of respondents between 20 and 29 years old, TISR general manager Tai Li-an (戴立安) said that the proportion of those opposed to eventual unification rose as high as 82 percent, compared with 64 percent overall.
In addition, more than 68 percent of 20-to-29-year-olds polled were in favor of ultimate independence, while 76.3 percent distrusted Xi, the results showed.
Friday’s results showed a 17 percentage point increase in those who distrust Xi, compared with polls conducted in March last year.
In an interview with Xinhua news agency on Friday, Zhang said Xi “still held strong influence” over Taiwanese due to his long-term, in-depth observation of Taiwan affairs.
Xinhua said this was evident at Xi’s meeting with former vice president Lien Chan (連戰) earlier this week, during which the Chinese president called on Taiwanese to help reinvigorate “zhonghua minzu (中華民族) and reinstate the ‘Chinese Dream’” in language familiar to them.
The TISR poll also asked respondents about the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) chairmanship election in May.
It found that 41.3 percent thought former DPP chairperson Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) would be the most capable of ameliorating relations between the party and China, while 21.1 percent said they would vote for DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) and 9.3 percent for former premier Frank Hsieh (謝長廷).
The survey collected 1,004 valid samples and had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.