An overwhelming majority of people in Taiwan support the government’s New Southbound Policy, reflecting a deep understanding in society of the initiative and its benefits, according to the results of a survey released Aug. 21 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Close to 80 percent of respondents said they are in favor of the initiative, up from 71 percent in a similar MOFA poll conducted last year, with 15.3 percent holding a contrasting position.
Nearly 72 percent said they back the government’s move to ease visa rules for qualified travelers from South and Southeast Asian countries under the policy, but 24 percent disapproved. Over 81 percent believe local government should play a bigger role in promoting the initiative.
A key component of President Tsai Ing-wen’s national development strategy, the policy seeks to deepen Taiwan’s agricultural, business, cultural, education, tourism and trade ties with the 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations member states, six South Asian countries, Australia and New Zealand.
On the foreign policy front, 70 percent said they are in favor of the government’s use of steadfast diplomacy approach in expanding Taiwan’s international space and safeguarding its interests. More than 84 percent support deepening exchanges and collaboration with Republic of China (Taiwan) diplomatic allies on the basis of mutual assistance and benefits as espoused in the approach.
Close to 76 percent said they back ongoing visits abroad by high-level officials, with 72 percent holding the position that the government should not engage in checkbook diplomacy with mainland China for ROC diplomatic allies.
Conducted Aug. 9-11 by Taipei City-based Survey and Research Co. Ltd., the telephone survey involved 1,134 individuals in 22 cities and counties nationwide with a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percent and a 95 percent confidence level.