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Chance of China’s Taiwan invasion slim

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The majority of Taiwanese do not think that China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) would invade Taiwan, according a poll, with only 25.7 percent thinking such a scenario was likely, reported Taipei Times (Taiwan).

The Taiwanese Public Opinion Foundation’s latest monthly survey found that 64.5 percent of respondents do not think such an attack is very likely.

Asked if the US was likely to send troops to help defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese attack, 47.4 percent of respondents said they were confident of such support, but 41 percent said they had doubts.

However, only 27.1 percent think the nation’s military would be able to repel any a PLA invasion, while 65.4 percent said they were not confident.

The survey was conducted from Sunday to Tuesday last week, just before the PLA conducted a live-fire exercise in the Taiwan Strait on Wednesday.

The poll found that 86.1 percent of respondents believe such military exercises by China do not serve to improve cross-strait relations, while 3.3 percent think they do help.

The survey found that 37.4 percent of respondents support the idea of Taiwan’s independence, 25.7 percent prefer maintaining the “status quo” and 23.8 percent favor unification with China.

A little more than half of respondents, 50.3 percent, believe that President Tsai Ing-wen’s recent visit to Swaziland — now known as eSwatini — did not help boost the nation’s international visibility, while 40.3 percent believe that it did.

The poll also found that 69.9 percent of respondents are dissatisfied with the nation’s international position and diplomatic situation, while 20.1 percent are satisfied.

In response to the statement: “Cross-strait relations are more important than diplomatic relations and to prevent provoking the Chinese Communist Party, it would be best for Taiwan to stop any efforts to boost its international position,” 65.6 percent of the respondents disagreed and 23.5 percent agreed.

Tsai’s public approval rating has dropped to 32 percent, a decline of 1.5 percentage points from a similar poll last month, and the third-lowest level since she took office on May 20, 2016, the poll found.

Her disapproval rating has climbed 2 percentage points to 49 percent since last month’s poll.

Former minister of national defense Michael Tsai, who attended the foundation’s news conference on the poll results, said that the president should be more flexible in maintaining the “status quo.”

She could write a letter to the WHO and the UN secretary-general to express Taiwan’s desire and determination to join these organizations, he said.

Tsai Ing-wen could also propose a visit to the US in the wake of last month’s passage of the US’ Taiwan Travel Act, as her passiveness has been one of the reasons the public is dissatisfied with her, Michael Tsai said.

This month’s survey was conducted via telephone interviews among randomly selected adults over the age of 20. It collected 1,072 valid samples and had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.99 percentage points.

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Reporter: Denes Osvalt
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Category: Politics
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