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Record majority of Americans favor defending Taiwan if China invades

Chicago Council survey shows 69% of Americans favor recognizing Taiwan as independent country

U.S. Marines (left) and South Korean Marines wearing blue headbands take part in beach landing exercise in 2016. 

U.S. Marines (left) and South Korean Marines wearing blue headbands take part in beach landing exercise in 2016.  (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A survey released by an American think tank on Thursday (Aug. 26) shows that a record percentage of Americans now favor sending troops to defend Taiwan if China invades, while a majority also favor diplomatic recognition of Taiwan, its inclusion in international organizations, and the signing of a U.S.-Taiwan free trade agreement.

On Thursday, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs released the results of a survey titled "For First Time, Half of Americans Favor Defending Taiwan If China Invades." Amid the ever-increasing intimidation tactics China has employed against Taiwan since 2016, the poll found that for the first time, a majority of Americans support dispatching U.S. troops to protect Taiwan.

Given a scenario in which China attempts to invade Taiwan, 52% back deploying U.S. troops to defend it. This is the highest recorded percentage in favor of sending U.S. forces since the question was first asked in 1982.

In terms of political parties, Republicans were even more supportive, with 60% favoring American boots on the ground in Taiwan in the event of a People's Liberation Army (PLA) invasion. Democrats broke even at 50%, while only 49% of independents back such an action

When asked if the U.S. should recognize Taiwan as an independent country, 69% of respondents voiced support for the proposal. A 65% percent majority also agree that the U.S. should support Taiwan's inclusion in international organizations, while 57% think the U.S. should sign a free trade agreement with the country.

A slimmer majority of 53% concurs that the U.S. should ink a formal alliance with Taiwan, while a plurality of 46% think Washington should make a formal commitment to defend Taipei in the event of an invasion by PLA forces. Americans were lukewarm to the concept of selling arms to Taiwan, with 50% in favor and 47% opposed.

Much of the American support can be seen through the lens of distrust of China, with a majority of Americans considering Taiwan either an ally (30%) or necessary partner (30%), while 61% regard China as a rival (32%) or adversary (29%).

The survey, conducted from July 7-26, gathered responses from a weighted national sample of 2,086 adults 18 years of age and older and had a sampling error of plus or minus 2.33%. Additional survey results came from the think tank's 2021 Trilateral Survey, which was carried out by Ipsos March 19-21 from a weighted nationwide sample of 1,019 adults with a sampling error of plus or minus 3%.

Updated : 2021-09-20 20:48 GMT+08:00