A growing percentage of Taiwanese view the nation’s trade relationship with China as competitive rather than mutually beneficial, according to a poll published yesterday.
The survey conducted by the Chinese-language United Daily News found that 41 percent of Taiwanese see cross-strait economic and trade relations as competitive, the highest percentage since 2010, when the newspaper started the annual poll on the development of Taiwan-China ties.
Only 17 percent of Taiwanese think cross-strait economic relations are more complementary than competitive, while 32 percent think that the links are both reciprocal and competitive, the poll showed.
Last year, the survey found that 35 percent of people in Taiwan viewed the ties as more complementary than competitive.
Overall, cross-strait economic relations were given a score of 6.4 on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 to 4 meaning friendly or complementary, 5 to 6 indicating an improving relationship and 7 to 10 signifying tense or competitive relations.
The scale was used to gauge five areas of cross-strait ties — politics, military, foreign relations, trade and society.
In the military section, 36 percent of Taiwanese said this year that cross-strait relations were tense, compared with 19 percent last year, while 37 percent saw the situation as improving.
Overall, cross-strait military relations scored 6.5 points.
The poll also uncovered that Taiwanese think there is increasing competition in cross-strait diplomacy, with 49 percent rating it as highly competitive, 30 percent as improving and just 11 percent as easing.
With an overall score of 6.9, cross-strait diplomacy was found to be the most competitive aspect of relations across the strait.
Despite the perception of growing economic, military and diplomatic competition across the strait, Taiwanese view relations between the two sides generally as peaceful, the poll showed.
Most Taiwanese think there is not much chance of a war with China and want to “maintain the ‘status quo’” in terms of relations with China, the poll found.
On a scale of 1 to 10, the average score on the possibility of a war between Taiwan and China was 3.2, with 10 indicating the highest possibility.
On the issue of Taiwan’s status, 47 percent of Taiwanese want to maintain the “status quo,” 19 percent would like to see the nation claim immediate independence, while 15 percent would prefer to keep the “status quo” now and move toward independence later, the poll showed.
About 4 percent favor an immediate “unification” with China, 8 percent would prefer a gradual process and 7 percent are undecided or have no opinion, the survey found.
Meanwhile, 31 percent of Taiwanese think cross-strait social links are warming because of private exchanges, 44 percent see such ties as improving and 19 percent think that those relations are still cold, the poll found. Overall, social relationships across the strait were given 5.3 points, the highest score among the five areas in the survey.
This year’s survey, conducted from Sept. 7 to Sept. 10 by telephone, collected 1,010 valid samples from throughout Taiwan. It had a confidence level of 95 percent and a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, the paper said.