Seven in 10 People in Taiwan Don’t Trust America—Poll

Seven in 10 People in Taiwan Don’t Trust America—Poll
Seven in 10 People in Taiwan Don’t Trust America—Poll

An overwhelming majority of people in Taiwan do not believe the United States is trustworthy, according to a new poll released on Monday. Most, however, were convinced by America’s commitment to the island’s safety.

The public opinion survey conducted for the American Portrait Project under Academia Sinica, Taiwan’s national academy of sciences, revealed significant skepticism toward China but also a notable decline in trust in the United States, Taiwan’s strongest international backer for decades.

Beijing says Taiwan is part of Chinese territory despite Taipei’s rejections. The desire for a political union with China remains at an all-time low, but the results indicated complex sentiments among Taiwanese respondents when it came to the island’s relations with major powers.

Only 33.9 percent of those polled considered the US to be a trustworthy country, a figure that was unchanged from last year but down from 43.4 percent in 2021, according to a summary of the findings.

This data points to persistent underlying apprehension about the America’s reliability as an ally in the face of China’s growing military presence in and around the Taiwan Strait, even as 55.7 percent of Taiwanese found the US’s increased commitment to Taiwan’s security to be credible.

Taiwan’s public harbors signify doubts about China, too, although for different reasons.

According to the survey, less than 10 percent of respondents viewed neighboring China as trustworthy. A further 82.7 percent of respondents said they perceived an intensified threat from China in recent years.

The survey also shed light on the evolving self-identity of Taiwan’s population, 62.5 percent of whom considered themselves exclusively Taiwanese, while 2.3 percent identified themselves solely as Chinese, with a further 32 percent identifying themselves as both.

The public opinion snapshot, which was shared at a seminar organized by the Washington-based Stimson Center think tank in Washington, DC, comes amid heightened US-China tensions and shifting geopolitical dynamics throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

Hsin-Hsin Pan, a professor at Taipei’s Soochow University who was part of the survey team, said the decline in trust in the US might stem from the Washington’s response to the Russia-Ukraine war.

President Joe Biden, who has previously pledged to defend Taiwan from a Chinese invasion, ruled out the deployment of American troops in support of Kyiv. He has approved a series of arms, training and funds for Ukraine instead.

“What struck me most is the gap between the US’s overall credibility and also the credibility of the US security commitment to Taiwan,” Pan said, according to Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post.

Soldiers display a Taiwanese flag before the flag raising ceremony during the National Day at the Presidential Office in Taipei on October 10, 2023. Seven out of ten Taiwanese don’t trust the US, a new survey says.
Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty

While general trust in the US may be wavering, a plurality of respondents remained confident in their specific commitments to Taiwan’s security, the results showed.

The report said 47.9 percent of those polled believed Taiwan’s TSMC, the world’s leading manufacturer of microchips, was vital to the US and would increase the probability that Taiwan receives assistance from American forces in the event of a conflict.

The project’s survey was conducted by the Election Study Center of National Chengchi University in Taipei from September 14-19. It collected 1,211 samples, had a confidence level of 95 percent, and a margin of error of plus or minus 2.82 percentage points.

Uncommon Knowledge

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