TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — There has been a dramatic increase in the percentage of Taiwanese expressing a willingness to fight to defend their country from China since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, according to a new survey.
The survey, released on Tuesday (March 15) by the Taipei-based think tank Taiwan International Strategic Study Society (台灣國際戰略學會), also showed an increase in the percentage backing increased reservist training and prolonging mandatory military service.
At a press conference held that day to announce the results of a poll, titled "Ukraine war and Taiwan security," the think tank announced that 70.2% of respondents are now willing to defend Taiwan if China took military action against the country. This is a substantial increase from the 40.3% who said they were willing to fight in a poll published Dec. 28, 2021.
Nearly 70% (69.6%) now support an extension of the four-month mandatory military service. Similarly, 70.4% back the new two-week reservist training program to improve combat readiness, with only 19.1% disapproving.
When presented with the controversial slogan "Ukraine today, Taiwan tomorrow," only 26.1% agreed with the statement, while 61.6% did not agree with it. Regarding whether the outbreak of war in Ukraine would result in China speeding up its preparations to annex Taiwan, 62.4% did not think China would be emboldened, while 25.5% felt it would be.
Amid U.S. reluctance to become directly involved in Ukraine, confidence that it would come to Taiwan's aid in the event of a PLA attack has dropped significantly. In October 2020, 55.1% believed the U.S. would come to Taiwan's defense, while the latest survey found only 42.7% now count on U.S. intervention, while 47.3% think it will not participate.
Only 34.7% of respondents believe Taiwan has the ability to stand alone against China militarily without support from the U.S.
The survey was conducted via telephone on residents across Taiwan aged 20 and over from March 11-13. It gathered 1,076 valid samples, of which 539 were from landlines and 537 from mobile phones. The poll had a sampling error of plus or minus 2.99 percentage points and a confidence level of 95%.