NEW YORK — Taiwanese people gave the U.S. nearly twice as many good reviews as they did mainland China, even before a cross-strait row over the coronavirus pandemic and Taiwan’s exclusion from the World Health Organization, in a new poll out Tuesday.
Just 35% of adults in Taiwan see the mainland in a positive light, compared with 68% expressing a favorable view of the U.S., in the Pew Research Center telephone survey taken from Oct. 16 to Nov. 30. And 79% said they welcome stronger political ties with Washington, against 36% saying the same about Beijing.
The findings indicate broad public support for the recent boost in U.S.-Taiwan relations — which, despite a lack of official diplomatic channels, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu has touted as probably the strongest in 40 years.
Respondents aligning with the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which has been actively pursuing a more robust partnership with the U.S., show even more support for increased ties with Washington than with Beijing.
A little more than half of respondents, 52%, still want closer economic relations with mainland China. But this is a minority view, at 39%, among those aged 18 to 29. In all age groups, overwhelming majorities supported stronger economic ties with the U.S.
Meanwhile, new developments in the three-way relationship among Taiwan, mainland China and the U.S. since the Pew poll closed may further reinforce these attitudes.
Washington has pivoted to blaming Beijing for the pandemic and pushed for Taiwanese participation in the WHO. China has accused Taiwan of “venomously” attacking the WHO and politicizing the virus.
In March, when President Donald Trump began to ramp up attacks against China, he also quietly signed into law the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative Act, or TAIPEI Act, which aims to broaden U.S. relations with Taiwan and encourage other countries and international organizations to strengthen their own official and unofficial ties with the island.