September 25, 2022

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More Australians fear China will attack Australia than Taiwanese believe China will attack Taiwan, the results of a think tank survey published today has revealed.

The results, described as “astounding”, are partly due to the “drums of war” rhetoric repeated by some political figures, analysts say.

The Australia Institute polled two groups of 1000 people, one each in Australia and Taiwan, during this month’s tensions in the Taiwan Strait after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the self-governing island.

Australians share the same level of concern as Taiwanese people about the threat of Chinese attack, a new survey found. (AP)

Almost one in 10 Australians believed an invasion will come “soon”, compared with one in 20 Taiwanese.

Beijing was enraged by Pelosi’s visit and responded by high-profile military exercises, including the test firing of ballistic missiles and extensive naval drills close to Taiwan.

The polling found slightly more Australians (85 per cent) than Taiwanese (80 per cent) regarded China as aggressive.

And nearly double the number of Australian men (49 per cent) as women (26 per cent) thought the nation will be prepared for armed conflict if China threatened Australia with a military strike.

But the majority of Australians and Taiwanese surveyed believe it’s in the general interest for the US and China to collaborate in keeping the peace.

The island territory of Taiwan has been claimed by China since 1949. (Nine)

The institute’s director of international and security affairs program, Allan Behm, said the results “astounding”.

And he said the survey showed “fearmongering” has impacted Australian public opinion.

“The more that the anti-China lobby beats the drums of war, the more afraid of China Australians become.

“This research indicates that the rhetoric on China and the fearmongering around the a risk of war has had an impact on public opinion.”

“It is astonishing that Australians are more afraid of an attack from China than the Taiwanese are.”

A Taiwanese air force F-5 fighter takes off from the Chihhang air base on the island as China held extensive military drills nearby. (Getty)

Beijing views Taiwan as an inseparable part of its territory – even though the Chinese Communist Party has never governed the island.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to pursue “reunification” with Taiwan by peaceful means.

Behm said the survey results showed the need for a reset of Canberra-Beijing relations.

In the aftermath of Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, the Australian government reaffirmed its commitment to the one-China policy but warned of potential ‘miscalculations.

China’s ambassador to Australia Xiao Qian, speaking to the National Press Club earlier this month, insisted there was no compromise on Taiwan, and that his nation’s 1.4 billion citizens would decide its future.

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