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Poll Shows Strong Support for Chen's Travels


August 28, 2000, Taipei Times

The public has given its seal of approval to President Chen Shui-bian's 12-day tour of six of Taiwan's diplomatic allies, according to results of a survey released yesterday.

Trendgo Survey Research Center yesterday released results of a survey conducted among 1,033 respondents on Aug. 24 and Aug. 25. The poll was commissioned by the Taipei branch of the DPP.

Nearly 74 percent of the respondents said they were satisfied with Chen's trip, adding that the president's tour was conducive to improving Taiwan's external relations.

Of those responding to the poll, 76.5 percent said Chen's tour to Taiwan's Central American and African allies earlier this month would not escalate tensions across the Taiwan Strait.

Analysts said the figures show that Chen had strong support for the trip.

"The fact that more than 70 percent endorsed Chen's trip indicates that the public has reached a consensus on the issue," said Wong Seng-lee, a public policy expert at National Taipei University, in a press conference yesterday.

When asked if respondents supported the government's move to expand Taiwan's diplomatic relations even though such a move could escalate cross-strait tensions, some 73.5 percent gave a positive reply.

"This means that the public has clearly recognized the government's efforts to expand Taiwan's international relations," said Yan Jiann-fa, director of the DPP's Chinese affairs department.

Over 80 percent (83.9) of respondents said the government should continue its bid for Taiwan's entry into the UN, while some 10 percent denounced the necessity of such a longstanding official move.

Results of the survey also showed the way the public sees cross-strait relations, with over half of those polled (50.7 percent) defining it as special "state-to-state" in nature.

Some 30 percent (27.7) said Taiwan and China maintain normal international relations, while 8 percent said cross-strait relations are between local and central governments within the framework of one state.

The survey also portrayed public expectation of future cross-strait relations, with nearly 87 percent of the respondents saying that maintaining the status quo is best.

The DPP's Yan admitted that the public's preference for maintaining the status quo across the Taiwan Strait -- as shown in the survey -- has become mainstream public opinion in Taiwan regarding cross-strait relations.

Yan said that polls such as this should be noticed by the leaders in Beijing as reflecting the true sentiments of the people in Taiwan.

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