Most Taiwanese consider Taiwan, China separate countries, poll suggests

Survey of just under 1,000 Taiwanese also showed that 54 per cent of those polled would prefer formal independence from mainland China

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 June, 2017, 11:09am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 June, 2017, 11:08am

Three quarters of Taiwanese people think Taiwan and China are two separate countries, while only about 14 per cent believe they are both part of one nation, according to the results of a survey released on Tuesday.

The poll, commissioned by the pro-government Ketagalan Foundation and the Taiwan Brain Trust, also showed that about 54 per cent of those polled prefer independence for the self-ruled island if the status quo across the Taiwan Strait cannot be maintained.

About 24 per cent prefer unification and the rest revealed no preference.

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Beijing considers Taiwan a breakaway Chinese province. Most countries accept the “one-China” principle which states that the self-governed island and mainland China are part of one country.

The poll, conducted by Trend Survey & Research Co. last weekend, showed that 57.5 per cent of those surveyed identify themselves as Taiwanese, five per cent as Chinese and 35 per cent as both Taiwanese and Chinese.

It was conducted by telephone among a random national sample of 953 adults, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 per cent.

It came after Panama switched diplomatic allegiance from Taipei to Beijing last week.

Frustrated by the diplomatic setback, the independence-leaning administration of President Tsai Ing-wen has said it is considering adjusting its policy of maintaining the status quo across the Taiwan Strait.

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Some independence supporters saw the diplomatic setback with Panama as a golden opportunity to declare independence if Taiwan loses all of its 20 diplomatic allies.

However, such a proposal was not well received by Chen Chih-chung, the son of former president Chen Shui-bian and the Ketagalan Foundation’s foundation secretary general.

He dismissed it as “unrealistic” saying every diplomatic ally was important.