Japanese are more likely to view China as a major threat than Taiwanese, although both sides agree that Beijing’s power and influence are the most concerning geopolitical hazard, a Pew Research Center poll showed on Tuesday.
From June 2 to Sept. 17, Pew researchers polled respondents in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong on perceived threats posed by China, the US, Russia and North Korea.
China’s power and influence was considered the greatest threat above North Korea’s nuclear weapons program, or US or Russian influence, the report said.
Japanese respondents showed the most concern over China, with 76 percent calling it a “major threat” compared with 66 percent in Taiwan and 64 percent in South Korea, it said.
In Hong Kong the rate was 48 percent, with 29 percent not considering Chinese influence a threat, it said.
This year’s figure among Japanese is comparable to the 74 percent recorded during tensions in waters west of Japan in 2013, Pew said, but added that respondents in South Korea were less skeptical of China than they were a decade ago, when 76 percent said its influence posed a major threat.
Views of China’s threat level in Taiwan correlated with age and party affiliation, researchers said.
People younger than 35 in Taiwan and Hong Kong were more likely to say China as a major threat, the report said.
Supporters of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) were also more likely to think so at 78 percent than Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) supporters at 59 percent, it said.
Japanese and South Korea respondents named North Korea’s nuclear weapons program as a major threat at rates of 73 and 65 percent respectively, while the figure was only 33 percent in Taiwan, it added.
In Japan, 71 percent of respondents named Russian influence as a major threat, while the figure was under half in the other regions, it said.
Only Japan had a majority who considered US power and influence to be a major threat at 53 percent, compared with 45 percent in Taiwan and South Korea, and 37 percent in Hong Kong, although 40 percent of Hong Kong respondents considered it a “minor threat,” the poll showed.
KMT supporters were more likely to view the US as a major threat at 63 percent, compared with 34 percent of DPP supporters, the report said.
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