A majority of the US public supports defending Taiwan if China invades, according to a US think tank poll released on Thursday.
The Chicago Council on Global Affairs survey, conducted by US research firm Ipsos, showed that 52 percent of the US public support using US troops to defend Taiwan if China invades, the highest level of support recorded since the survey first included the question in 1982.
Sixty percent of Republicans surveyed favored the use of US troops to defend Taiwan, compared with 50 percent of Democrats and 49 percent of independents, the poll showed.
The survey found that 53 percent of Americans support signing a formal alliance with Taiwan, while 46 percent believe in explicitly committing to defend Taiwan if China invades, it said.
The poll showed that 69 percent of the US public believes that the US should recognize Taiwan as an independent country, 65 percent agree that Washington should help Taiwan join international organizations and 57 percent favor the US signing a free-trade agreement with Taiwan.
The US is divided over arms sales to Taiwan, with 50 percent of the public supporting the sale of arms and military equipment to the country, while 47 percent said they were against it, the poll showed.
“Distrust of China is a significant factor in US public support for Taiwan,” the council said.
It said that “US officials often refer to Taiwan as a valued partner in the region,” adding that “the public’s views are broadly similar.”
The poll showed that 30 percent of the US public see Taiwan as an ally or necessary partner, while 32 percent see China as a rival and 29 percent see it as an adversary.
The survey, conducted from July 7 to July 26, had 2,086 valid responses from adults living in the US with a margin of error of 2.33 percentage points.
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