Record number of Taiwanese consider China friendly: poll

Agence France Presse

Posted at May 18 2009 11:55 AM | Updated as of May 18 2009 10:53 PM

TAIPEI - A record number of Taiwanese believe traditional rival China is friendly towards the self-ruled island and half do not believe closer ties hurt Taiwan's sovereignty, a survey showed Monday.

Nearly 57 percent of the 1,007 people questioned in a China Times poll last week said China was friendly towards Taiwan -- the highest number recorded by the daily.

A total of 15.7 percent considered China hostile while the rest had no comment.

Some 49.5 percent said they did not believe President Ma Ying-jeou's policies to pursue closer ties with China jeopardised Taiwan's sovereignty, while 36.7 percent believed they did.

The poll comes as the pro-independence opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) on Monday continued a sit-in protest against Ma's China-friendly policies.

The DPP said 600,000 people marched in the streets of Taipei Sunday but authorities put the turnout at less than 80,000.

Relations between Taiwan and China, which split in 1949 at the end of a civil war, hit rock bottom due to the pro-independence rhetoric of Ma's DPP predecessor Chen Shui-bian but they have improved dramatically since Ma's inauguration last year.