In a recent survey, more than 90 percent of Taiwanese respondents said they hoped for peaceful relations with Beijing, as a record number of Chinese military planes fly close to the island and state media threaten total war.
Only 2.6 percent of respondents to the survey on “Security in the Taiwan Strait of Taiwan” said they hoped for more antagonism, but as many as 77.6 percent said they were “prepared to fight to defend Taiwan” if China should strike first.
The survey results were released this week by the Taiwan Strategy Research Association and the Taiwan International Studies Association.
Focus Survey Research conducted the survey between October 21 and 22 using computerized telephone interviews and interviewed 1,076 Taiwanese adults over the age of 20 who are of legal age to participate in a presidential election.
Taiwanese citizens were divided over President Tsai Ing-wen’s handling of cross-strait relations, the results showed.
Their government has chosen to continuously strengthen the country’s coastal defenses with billions of dollars worth of U.S. military equipment, which has raised military tension in the Taiwan Strait to its highest level in almost three decades.
Chinese state-owned media, such as the militant government newspaper Global Times, have regularly published editorials warning of a “secession of Taiwan” and threatening war.
The survey found that 23.8 percent of respondents in Taiwan felt that their government should try to repair their relations with Beijing.
“This means war”: Chinese state media warn Taiwan about actions with war planes
The survey also asked whether Taiwanese would be willing to “arm” themselves with America in the event of a military conflict between China and the United States-nearly 60 percent said yes.
Just over 55 percent expected that in the recurring hypothesis of a war across the Strait, the USA would send troops to support Taiwan.
At a press conference today, Beijing Office for Taiwan Affairs spokesman Zhu Fenglian was asked about the 90.4 percent of Taiwanese respondents who said they hoped for “peaceful coexistence” with their Chinese counterparts.
Zhu said: “Support for peaceful development has always been a mainstream of public opinion on both sides of the Taiwan Strait despite the deliberate obstruction by [Tsai’s] Democratic Progress Party and the pandemic.
November 7 marks the fifth anniversary of the controversial meeting between former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou and Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Singapore. The groundbreaking event was the first meeting of leaders from the other side of the Taiwan Strait since the end of the Chinese civil war.
However, when asked by a Taiwanese reporter whether a similar meeting was possible in the future and what criteria would have to be met, Zhu replied: “The historic meeting of leaders from the different straits was held on the political basis of the 1992 consensus and anti-Taiwan independence. Do you believe that the current atmosphere in the Taiwan Strait meets these requirements?
An aircraft of type PLA Y-8 EW flew into #Taiwanâs southwestern ADIZ on the morning of October 27th, the flight path as shown. #ROCAF deployed patrol aircraft and air defense missile systems to monitor the activity. We continue to protect our people and our country, anytime and anywhere. pic.twitter.com/qYcUrQWcpg
– åé²é¨ Ministry of National Defence, R.O.C. ð¹ð¼ (@MoNDefense) October 27, 2020
On Tuesday, Taiwan’s Ministry of Defense announced that a People’s Liberation Army Y-8 electronic warfare aircraft had entered the country’s airspace zone and flown between Taiwan and the Taiwan-controlled Dongsha Islands, also known as the Pratas Islands.
It was the 21st time that Chinese fighter planes had flown near the island in October alone, Taiwan’s state-run Central News Agency reported.
The spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Bureau was shy when he was interviewed by a Taiwanese report about a possible PLA takeover of the Dongsha Islands. Zhu described the question as “hypothetical” and said it “need not answer”.
She then added, “But I will repeat our basic position: We are determined and able to repel all provocative ‘Taiwanese acts of independence'”.
Taiwan as a trump card
Recent polls in Taiwan have shown that the democratic island state is strongly in favor of a second term in office for President Donald Trump, as it expects the incumbent to benefit from the escalating confrontation with Beijing.
The U.S. government has sold defensive weapons to Taiwan four times in 2020 and nine times since President Trump took office, Taiwan’s State Department said on Monday.