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9% of Taiwanese trust China, 65% think US will defend Taiwan: Poll

82% believe that threat from China has intensified in recent years

USS Ronald Reagan and other ships from RIMPAC 2010 transit the Pacific. (Flickr, US Navy photo)

USS Ronald Reagan and other ships from RIMPAC 2010 transit the Pacific. (Flickr, US Navy photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The latest poll results on Monday (Nov. 20) by Academia Sinica showed less than 10% of Taiwanese consider China credible, while more than 65% believe in the U.S.'s commitment to defend Taiwan.

The third annual "American Portrait Project" poll results of Academia Sinica's Institute of European and American Studies (IEAS) revealed that only 9.3% of Taiwanese believe China is credible. Of those surveyed, 82.7% believed that the threat from China has intensified in recent years.

The American Portrait Project released its latest research report on Monday at The Stimson Center, a think tank in Washington, D.C. The survey analyzed Taiwanese views on the U.S. and the development of U.S.-China-Taiwan relations.

Pan Hsin-hsin (潘欣欣), an associate professor at the Department of Sociology at Soochow University, said this survey found that 34.03% of Taiwanese believe in U.S. credibility. This is a significant decrease from the 45.35% who rated the U.S. as credible in 2021.

She assessed this may be due to the war in Ukraine. The U.S. response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine has given the Taiwanese a glimpse of Washington's possible reaction if a conflict breaks out in the Taiwan Strait, she said.

On the other hand, only 9.3% of Taiwanese people believed that China is a credible country, down by more than 4% from 13.5% in 2021. Pan believed that this was a strong signal.

Polls also showed that 55.7% of Taiwanese believed the U.S. has increased its security assurances for Taiwan as the perceived threat from China rises.

In terms of U.S. security support for Taiwan, 66.4% of respondents approved of the regular presence of U.S. military aircraft and warships in the Taiwan Strait, and 65.4% believed in the U.S. president’s public commitment to defend Taiwan. In addition, 59.6% believed that visits by high-level U.S. officials to Taiwan would increase the odds of the U.S. sending troops to help defend Taiwan in the future.

After the outbreak of the pandemic, Taiwanese semiconductors have become the focus of great concern in the international supply chain, and its "silicon shield" has become a hot topic. James Lee (李語堂), an associate researcher at IEAS, said that 44.6% of respondents agreed that TSMC is important to the U.S. and will increase the possibility of Washington sending troops to assist Taiwan, but 47.9% disagreed.

In terms of political party orientation, Lee said that supporters of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are more certain about the importance of TSMC to Taiwan's security, while supporters of the Kuomintang (KMT) and Taiwan People's Party (TPP) tended to disagree.

Meanwhile, 91.4% of respondents supported maintaining the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. However, in terms of identity, 78.4% of respondents believed that Taiwan and China are not affiliated with each other, 36.5% believed that Taiwan is called the "Republic of China," and 21.1% agreed with the "Republic of China, Taiwan" title.

In addition, 62.5% of respondents considered themselves Taiwanese, only 2.3% thought they were Chinese, and 32.2% thought they were both.

The survey was conducted conducted by the Election Study Center at National Chengchi University from Sept. 14-19. The poll gathered 1,211 valid responses from adults via telephone and had a sampling error of plus or minus 2.82 percentage points with a confidence level of 95%.