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September 23, 2017

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Majority of people want Taiwan and China to cooperate and resolve island woes: survey

TAIPEI -- A majority of people in Taiwan and China hope the two sides can work together to resolve a long-running territorial row with Japan on islands in the East China Sea, a survey showed Thursday.

The disputed islands, known as Diaoyu in Chinese and Senkaku in Japanese, have long been a source of friction between Taiwan and China on the one hand and Japan on the other, as they all claim sovereignty.

In China, 85.3 percent of the 1,502 people interviewed were in favor of cooperation with Taiwan while 8.8 percent were against, according to the survey jointly conducted by the Taipei-based China Times and China's Global Times.

In Taiwan, 51.1 percent of the 1,500 people polled approved of collaborating with China while 27.5 opposed it, the survey found.

Up to 90.8 percent of Chinese support military moves, if need be, to resolve the disputes while 52.1 percent believe that such disputes could actually lead to military conflicts.

The percentage is much lower in Taiwan, with only 41.2 percent in favor of potential military actions while 40.0 percent believe the disputes could trigger conflicts.

China and Japan have a lengthy dispute over the uninhabited but strategically coveted island chain, which is believed to be surrounded by oil and gas reserves.

Taiwan also claims the islands and local activists have tried to sail to the disputed area to press Taipei's claim.

This month, coastguard vessels from Taiwan and Japan "bumped into" each other in waters near the disputed island chain, as the Taiwanese vessel was escorting activists to the area.

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