Transatlantic public favor diplomatic actions if Taiwan invaded: Survey

09/30/2022 04:40 PM
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Soldiers take part in a military exercise around the Presidential Office in Taipei in July. CNA file photo
Soldiers take part in a military exercise around the Presidential Office in Taipei in July. CNA file photo

Taipei, Sept. 30 (CNA) If China invades Taiwan, a majority of people surveyed in 14 transatlantic countries favor diplomatic actions or joint sanctions by their country over sending arms or troops to support Taiwan, a survey conducted in June and July by two American and German organizations showed.

"Regarding China, most respondents support a tougher approach by their country toward Beijing, but in the scenario of an invasion of Taiwan there is no appetite for sending arms or troops to the island," according to the survey published on Thursday.

The survey was conducted in late June and early July, before China launched nearly a week of intensive live-fire military drills in maritime areas encircling Taiwan in response to the visit to Taipei by United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Aug. 2-3.

The survey Transatlantic Trends 2022, the third of its kind conducted since 2020, was carried out by the Washington-based German Marshall Fund and Germany's Bertelsmann Foundation to gauge public opinion about geopolitical challenges facing the transatlantic community.

China's growing global assertiveness was among the issues covered in this year's survey, as in the previous two years, while it was the first time that the scenario of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan was added.

The 14 countries surveyed this year were Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the U.S., with appropriately 1,500 people aged 18 years and older in each country interviewed, according to the survey.

Across countries and policy areas, a plurality of respondents supported a tougher approach toward China, either unilaterally or with partners, except when it comes to dealing with new technology, where respondents showed a preference for more cooperation, the survey showed.

The respondents most in favor of getting tough on China are the French, the Canadians, the Dutch, the Swedes, the Portuguese, the British and the Spaniards, while support for cooperation with China is highest in Turkey, Lithuania and Romania, according to the poll.

Except in Romania and Turkey, around half or more of those respondents in Spain, Sweden, Canada, the Netherlands, France, the U.K., and Germany, which favor getting tough on China in any policy area said they were willing to accept the domestic economic price of tougher policies, the survey noted.

Asked about the potential actions that their country should take if China invades Taiwan, diplomatic actions and joint sanctions were more preferable than sending arms or troops to Taiwan for the respondents in all 14 countries, the survey showed.

Across the 14 countries surveyed, 35 percent of respondents supported only diplomatic measures and 32 percent backed joint economic sanctions while very few supported sending arms (4 percent) or troops (2 percent) to Taiwan.

Meanwhile, 12 percent wanted their country to take no action, according to the survey.

The highest share of respondents who wanted their country to send arms or troops to Taiwan is from the United States, though this was small at 8 percent and 7 percent respectively, the survey showed.

Public support for sending arms or troops to Taiwan is also very low among the U.S.' closest allies in Europe -- 5 percent and 3 percent respectively in the U.K. and 3 percent and 2 percent respectively in France, the survey showed.

(By Shih Hsiu-chuan)

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