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Mainland Affairs Council

Applying to participate in the United Nations under the name of Taiwan has won extensive support of Taiwan’s mainstream public opinion (2007-08)

Mainland Affairs Council--Press Release

August 17, 2007, No. 067

MAC public survey: Applying to participate in the United Nations under the name of Taiwan has won extensive support of Taiwan’s mainstream public opinion

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) today (August 17, 2007) released the latest public opinion survey on the "Public's Views on Current Cross-Strait Relations." According to the results of this public opinion survey, 78 percent of the public disagree with China's statement that "As a part of China, Taiwan is not qualified to join the United Nations." At the same time, the majority of the public (73.4 percent) support joining the UN under the name of Taiwan. These results show that Taiwan's bid to join the UN has won extensive support of Taiwan's mainstream public opinion.

The MAC indicated that according to the public survey released today, more than 70 percent of the Taiwanese people support Taiwan's bid to enter the UN under the name of Taiwan. At the same time, 67 percent of the public believe that Taiwan's failure to smoothly join international organizations and develop diplomatic relations has mainly been due to suppression from China.

The MAC indicated that Taiwan is an independent sovereign country, and that the government will promote Taiwan's bid to join the UN based on the mainstream public opinion. On the eve of the opening of the UN General Assembly session in September, the MAC urges the international community to put importance on Taiwan's application for UN membership and render support to such an endeavor.

With regard to the public’s perception of China’s hostility toward Taiwan, the public opinion survey shows that the proportion of the respondents perceiving the hostility of the Chinese authorities toward the Taiwanese government and the Taiwanese people remains high at 63.8 percent and 44.1 percent, respectively. These figures have reached a new high compared to previous surveys. The MAC indicated that China must employ a new mode of thinking and adopt new measures to resolve cross-strait hostility. If China continues to obstruct Taiwan’s development of its international survival space, this will not be beneficial to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. The public survey also revealed that if the development of diplomatic relations will create tensions in cross-strait relations, 64 percent of those interviewed agree that the government should continue to develop diplomatic relations with other countries.

With regard to relations between Taiwan and China, those in favor of maintaining the status quo defined in a broader sense exceed 80 percent (81.5 percent), while those showing disapproval of China’s “one country, two systems” formula also make up the majority (67.8 percent).

The public opinion survey was conducted between August 10 and 12, 2007 by the Election Study Center of the National Chengchi University commissioned by the MAC. The results of the survey were based on telephone interviews of adults over 20 years old in the Taiwan Area. A total of 1,095 effective samples were collected, with a sampling error of 2.96 percent based on a 95 percent confidence level.


Appendix: Summarized Results of the Public Opinion Survey (August 10 to 12, 2007) “The Public’s Views on Current Cross-Strait Relations”

Summarized Results of the Public Opinion Survey

(August 10~12, 2007)

“The Public’s Views on Current Cross-Strait Relations”

■73.4 percent of the public support Taiwan to seek UN membership under the name of Taiwan.

■77.6 percent of the public disagree with China’s statement that, “As a part of China, Taiwan is not qualified to join the UN.”

■66.5 percent of the public believe that the numerous difficulties Taiwan has encountered in its participation in international organizations and in its development of diplomatic relations are mainly due to China's suppression.

■On the issue of prioritization of developing diplomatic and cross-strait relations, when asked if developing diplomatic relations will result in cross-strait tensions, 63.7 percent of those interviewed still support continuing to develop diplomatic relations.

■The vast majority of the public (81.5 percent) still advocate maintaining the status quo defined in a broader sense (including “maintaining the status quo and deciding on independence or unification later,” “maintaining the status quo and unification later,” “maintaining the status quo and independence later,” and “maintaining the status quo indefinitely”). The results are consistent with those of previous public opinion surveys.

I. Survey Background and Methods

In order to gain understanding of the public’s views on related issues concerning cross-strait relations, the MAC entrusted the Election Study Center of the National Chengchi University to conduct a telephone survey of Taiwanese adults over the age of 20 from August 10 to August 12, 2007. A total of 1,095 effective samples were collected, with a sampling error of 2.96 percent based on a 95 percent confidence level.

II. Major Findings

(1) Views on Taiwan’s bid to join the United Nations

73.4 percent of the public agree that Taiwan should seek UN membership under the name of Taiwan, while 17.2 percent disapprove. 77.6 percent of the public disagree with China’s statement that, “As a part of China, Taiwan is not qualified to join the UN,” while only 9.8 percent of the public agree with this statement. In addition, 66.5 percent of the public agree with the opinion that, “The numerous difficulties Taiwan has encountered in its participation in international organizations and in its development of diplomatic relations are mainly due to China’s suppression,” while 23.5 percent of the respondents disagree.

(2) Views on direct cross-strait transportation links

On the issue of direct cross-strait transportation links, 71.1 percent of the public believe that such links should be “opened conditionally,” while 15.9 percent believe that they should “be opened unconditionally.”

(3) Views on China-bound investments by Taiwanese businesspeople

With regard to the restrictions imposed by the government on China-bound investments by Taiwanese businesspeople, 50.3 percent of the public believe such limits should be “slightly tightened,” while 32.3 percent believe that they should be “slightly eased.”

(4) The public’s perception of China’s hostility toward Taiwan

63.8 percent of the public believe that Chinese authorities are unfriendly to the Taiwanese government (including 29.3 percent responding “very unfriendly” and 34.5 percent responding “unfriendly”). Moreover, 44.1 percent of the public believe that the Chinese authorities are unfriendly to the Taiwanese people (including 17.3 percent responding “very unfriendly” and 26.8 percent responding “unfriendly”).

(5) Views on prioritization of diplomatic and cross-strait relations

On the issue of prioritization of developing diplomatic and cross-strait relations, 36.4 percent believe that it is “more important to develop relations between Taiwan and China,” while 30.4 percent believe it is “more important to develop relations with other countries.” The proportion of people believing the two are of “equal importance” is 19.1 percent. In addition, when asked if developing diplomatic relations will result in cross-strait tensions, 63.7 percent of those interviewed still support continuing to develop diplomatic relations.

(6) Views on cross-strait exchanges

Regarding the pace of the government’s opening up of cross-strait civilian exchanges, 36.1 percent of the public believe the pace is “just right,” 28.7 percent believe it is “too slow,” and 21 percent believe it is “too fast.”

(7) Views on unification vs. independence

The vast majority of the public (81.5 percent) still advocate maintaining the status quo defined in a broader sense (including “maintaining the status quo and deciding on independence or unification later,” “maintaining the status quo and unification later,” “maintaining the status quo and independence later”, and “maintaining the status quo indefinitely”).

Of the six possible positions on this issue, the largest number (34.9 percent) support “maintaining the status quo and deciding on independence or unification later,” while 17.9 percent support “maintaining the status quo indefinitely.” Moreover, the proportion of people leaning toward independence (26.8 percent, including 10.3 percent for “independence as soon as possible” and 16.5 percent for “maintaining the status quo and independence later”) outnumbers the proportion leaning toward unification (14.4 percent, including 2.2 percent for “unification as soon as possible” and 12.2 percent for “maintaining the status quo and unification later”).

(8) Views on China’s “one country, two systems” formula

Regarding China’s stance on developing cross-strait relations under the “one country, two systems” formula, 67.8 percent of the public disapprove, while only 14.8 percent of the public agree.