Foreigners worried about Taiwan: poll

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THREAT FROM CHINA:
To counter possible aggression by China or Russia, 67% of Japanese and 77% of South Koreans said their nations should work with Washington

  • By Lin Tsuei-yi and Liu Tzu-hsuan / Staff Reporter in TOKYO, with Staff Author

A poll conducted by Yomiuri Shimbun of Japan and Hankook Ilbo of South Korea found that 73 percent of respondents believe China may take military action against Taiwan.

The poll released on Thursday also asked about the relationship between Japan and South Korea, with 31 percent of respondents in Japan saying the relationship would improve, up from 14 percent a year ago, while 53 percent of respondents in South Korea believed the same, up from 29 percent in the last year.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol’s People Power Party has announced plans to improve relations between South Korea and Japan.

Photo: EPA-EFE

Although the percentage of respondents expecting the relationship to improve has increased, 61 percent of respondents in Japan said they would stay the same, the survey found.

When asked about some of the issues that have fueled diplomatic tensions between the two nations, 58 percent of respondents in Japan and 81 percent of respondents in South Korea said there was no need for their side to make concessions, like the poll revealed.

60 percent in Japan and 59 percent in South Korea said their own countries could be attacked in the near future, the poll found.

To counter possible Chinese or Russian aggression, 67 percent of respondents in Japan and 77 percent in South Korea said their nations “should work with the US,” it showed.

The survey was conducted May 20-24 via telephone interview, collecting 1,000 valid responses from individuals aged 18 and over in each country.

In other news, former Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto said Taiwan, the US and Japan should work together to prepare “for an emergency” in an interview with online magazine The Diplomat published Wednesday.

“The Chinese Communist Party’s position on Taiwan unification has not changed at all,” Morimoto said, adding that the party sees unification as a “historic mission” but has not yet decided when and how to carry it out.

China’s main considerations include possible intervention by the US and other countries, he said.

Although Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is often compared to the situation in the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan is “completely different from Ukraine” as 33 countries have offered the Eastern European nation military aid, but it’s unlikely Taiwan would receive such support if it would have been attacked by China, he said.

Should a cross-strait war end quickly, sanctions against China may have limited effect, he said.

If war breaks out across the straits, US forces stationed in Japan and South Korea will not be sufficient to fight the Chinese military, while “Japan is not yet fully prepared given its defense capabilities,” he said.

Taiwan, Japan and the US should discuss how to work together in an emergency, he added.

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