Survey finds mixed views on foreign policy priorities

By Chris Wang  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Nov 10, 2012 - Page 3

A public opinion poll has shown that more than half of respondents feel that China and the US should be a priority in terms of Taiwan’s foreign relations, but younger people tended to favor China as the priority, a public opinion poll showed.

“The result appears to reflect Taiwanese people’s pragmatism,” Taiwan Indicator Survey Research (TISR) general manager Tai Li-an (戴立安) said in a press release yesterday.

Asked whether China or the US should be higher on the priority list of Taiwan’s foreign relations, 17.2 percent of those polled favored China, while 15.4 percent of the respondents favored the US.

However, 56 percent of respondents added that the priority should reflect whatever issues are at stake.

Citing detailed data compiled by TISR, Tai said that the age of 45 appeared to be a dividing line, with people younger tending to favor China, while those over 45 favored the US.

The survey, conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday, focused on the Chinese Communist Party’s National Congress and the recently concluded US presidential election.

The poll found that 51.8 percent of those polled said they paid a lot of attention to the Beijing event, but 73.4 percent of the respondents could not name Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (習近平) as the next Chinese president.

Asked about outgoing Chinese President Hu Jintao’s (胡錦濤) achievements in relation to cross-strait peace, respondents said that Hu had failed to impress, with an average score of 58.1 points.

Exactly half of the respondents supported any efforts that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) may take in seeking to sign a peace treaty with Beijing before he concludes his second term, while 32.8 percent disagreed with the plan and 17.1 percent said they had no opinion on the matter.

However, support for Ma dropped after respondents were reminded that both sides of the Taiwan Strait continue to hold different views on “one China.” Under these circumstances, 43.9 percent of respondents said they supported the signing of a peace treaty, while 37.9 percent were not supportive of the plan.

The poll collected 1,009 valid samples and had a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.