Fri, Sep 07, 2007 - Page 3 News List

Survey shows drop in favorable view of Americans

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The US must heed the ripple effect caused by its opposition to Taiwan's UN bid because it might cause anti-US sentiment and strengthen Taiwan's determination to pursue its goal, analysts attending a forum said yesterday.

A poll made public by Taiwan Thinktank yesterday showed that the popularity of the US in the eyes of Taiwanese had declined by 15 percent over the past year, dropping from 32 percent one year ago to 17 percent.

The poll, conducted between last Thursday and Sunday with 1,068 respondents, found that 38 percent said they had the best impression of the Japanese. Seventeen percent named Americans, 10 percent Koreans and 7 percent Chinese.

Nearly 29 percent said they did not know or declined to answer.

Compared with a poll conducted in August last year, 35 percent of respondents said they had the most favorable impression of the Japanese.

Thirty-two percent named Americans, nearly 11 percent Koreans and approximately 9 percent Chinese.

Soochow University political science professor Lo Chih-cheng (羅致政) said that it remained to be seen whether the decline of US popularity was related to its opposition to Taiwan's UN bid.

Lo was referring to the comments made by Dennis Wilder, senior director for East Asian affairs at the National Security Council, who told reporters last Thursday that the nationhood of Taiwan was an undecided issue and that Taiwan was therefore not qualified to become a member of the international body.

US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said on Aug. 27 that the US government opposes Taiwan's plan for a referendum because Washington views such activity as a move toward a declaration of independence.

While more than 50 percent of People First Party (PFP) supporters said they had the best impression of Americans, Yan Jiann-fa (顏建發), chairman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Research and Planning Committee, said that the US government might want to develop a closer partnership with the PFP, which did not seem to be affected by US positions.

While Singapore was the first to voice its opposition to Taiwan's UN bid, almost 77 percent of respondents said they disagreed with Singapore's statement.

Lin Cheng-yi (林正義), who is a researcher of European and US studies at the Academia Sinica, said that Singapore's views did not deserve so much attention.

Lin pointed out that respondents aged between 20 and 29 had the least favorable impression of China, followed by those aged between 50 and 59.

Describing Taiwan's referendum bid as a "two-level game," Soochow University political science professor Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said that the poll showed that international pressure had more impact on the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) than on the Democratic Progressive Party.

Hsu said that he wondered whether the US was actually opposing the referendum because it knew its opposition to the poll would have the affect of stoking public support for it among the Taiwanese.

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