TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A new poll by Pew Research Center showed that a higher percentage of Japanese consider China a major threat, while in Taiwan, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters are more likely to view China as a serious threat than Kuomintang (KMT) or independent voters.
On Tuesday (Dec. 5), Pew released survey results conducted from June to September 2023 on whether adults in Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Hong Kong consider China's power and influence a major threat. It found that more than half of the respondents rated China as a greater threat than other geopolitical issues such as North Korea's nuclear weapons program and the power and influence of the U.S. and Russia.
Of the four countries surveyed, Japan had the highest percentage of people who described China's power and influence as a major threat at 76%. This was followed by Taiwan at 66%, South Korea at 64%, and Hong Kong at 48%.
For Japan, this was an increase from the 74% who held this view 10 years ago and 69% who felt this way at the end of the decade before that. However, South Korea saw a decrease from the 76% who thought of China as a major threat in 2013.
In all four countries and regions surveyed, those who had a higher level of education were more likely to perceive China as a threat. For example, in Japan, 81% of those who had attained a higher level of education listed China as a major threat, while 72% of less-educated persons had this concern.
Another factor was age. In Hong Kong and Taiwan, people under the age of 35 were more likely to rate the power and influence of China as a significant menace.
In the case of Taiwan, political affiliation was also a major deciding factor. Among adults who support the DPP, 78% said China's power and influence are a major threat to Taiwan, compared with 59% of KMT supporters and 65% of people who are not affiliated with any party.
When asked about U.S. power and influence, 45% of Taiwanese believe it poses a major threat to their country. Among more educated Taiwanese adults, 51% selected this option, compared with 40% of less-educated respondents.
Backers of the KMT at 63% were much more likely to label the U.S. as a major threat than DPP supporters at 34%.
As for Russia's power and influence, only 25% of Taiwanese consider it a serious threat, 43% think of it as a minor threat, and 25% do not believe it is a threat at all. Of Taiwanese who are more educated, 55% ranked Russia as a threat, compared to only 38% of less-educated residents.