fredag 14. januar 2022

Fear of war dips in Taiwan despite rise in US-China tensions over island

A declining number of Taiwanese people fear an imminent war with China, according to a new poll suggesting the rest of the world is far more worried than those at the centre of this potential geopolitical flashpoint. According to the poll, published on Thursday by Taiwan’s Commonwealth Magazine, 35.4% of respondents said they were worried about a military conflict breaking out over the Taiwan Strait within the next year, a decrease of nearly 15 percentage points on last year’s survey. The survey also found 59.7% of people do not think Beijing will ultimately use force to take Taiwan, while more than 35% believed it would.

Beijing considers Taiwan to be a breakaway province of China and has pledged to take it by force if necessary. Some analysts see Xi Jinping’s “reunification” pledge as a key goal of his legacy, but the current democratically elected government in Taipei says the island is already a de-facto independent nation.

In the year between the Commonwealth Magazine annual polls, China has markedly increased its rhetoric and actual intimidation of Taiwan, with record numbers of air force flights – part of Beijing’s warfare-adjacent “grey-zone” activity – into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone.