Thu, Sep 18, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Americans ‘neutral’ on Taiwan; China not a threat: poll

Staff writer, with CNA, LOS ANGELES

Americans have relatively “neutral” feelings about Taiwan and a large majority feel the US should not send troops to defend Taiwan if it is invaded by China, a survey by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs released on Monday found.

In one of the survey’s questions on how Americans feel about other countries, Taiwan ranked 12th among 25 US friends, allies and enemies with a score of 52, just above Turkey at 50, a neutral rating on the question’s 0 to 100 scale.

A score of 100 represents a “very warm, favorable feeling,” while 0 indicates a “very cold, unfavorable feeling.”

Among the Asian countries surveyed, Taiwan trailed fourth-placed Japan (which scored 62) and eighth-placed South Korea (55). China was ranked 17th with a score of 44.

However, those good — or at least neutral — feelings did not translate into support for protecting allies if they were to come under attack, particularly if Taiwan was invaded by China.

Of 12 scenarios presented in which US troops could be deployed abroad, support for sending them if China attacked Taiwan was the lowest, at only 26 percent, compared with 47 percent support for sending in US troops if South Korea was invaded by the North or 45 percent support if Israel was attacked by its neighbors.

A Russian attack on a NATO ally found 44 percent support for deploying troops, and 30 percent support if Russia was to invade the rest of Ukraine.

“Americans have more favorable feelings toward Taiwan than China. Yet surveys since 1982 have shown that no more than a third of Americans has ever supported sending US troops to defend Taiwan from a Chinese invasion,” the council’s report on the survey said.

Also troubling for Taiwan is that fewer Americans see China as a threat.

“In line with readings from 2008, 2010 and 2012, just four in 10 Americans view the development of China as a world power as a critical threat. These attitudes contrast sharply with views between 1994 and 2002, when nearly six in 10 considered China’s rise a critical threat,” the report said.

“Even fewer consider China’s border disputes with its neighbors a critical threat [19%],” the report said.

The only scenarios receiving majority support for sending US troops was to stop a government from committing genocide, to deal with humanitarian crises, to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and to ensure the oil supply, the survey found.

The survey of US public opinion on foreign policy was conducted from May 6 to May 29 among a 2,108 adults. It had a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points.

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