Global survey: 2 in 5 Filipinos see China as an 'enemy'

Camille Diola - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - China's image in the Philippines is largely negative due to the tension over the West Philippines Sea with two in five Filipinos saying the Asian giant has become the country's foe.

A global survey by Pew Research Center released on Thursday finds that in 2013, 39 percent of the population consider the Asian  giant as an "enemy," while 35 percent think China is "neither."

Only 22 percent of Filipinos see China as a "partner."

Among the countries that have standing territorial disputes with China, it is also the Filipinos who say the sea row with China is a "big problem" in the country.

Related: China hits back: Phl 'broke commitment', 'aggravated' dispute

About 90 percent of Filipinos find the dispute over the West Philippine Sea a headache for the nation. Most of the Japanese (82 percent), South Koreans (77 percent) and Indonesians (62 percent) also think the tension with China is a "big problem."

Several Filipinos--at 22 percent--say China is or will be the world's leading superpower, but most still think the US is and will continue to be at the top globally.

"More than six-in-ten in Japan (67 percent), the Philippines (67 percent), and South Korea (61 percent) name the US as the leading economic power," the study said.

Moreover, more Asians including Filipinos are troubled about China's growing military power.

"Nearly all the Japanese (96 percent) and South Koreans (91 percent) and strong majorities of Australians (71 percent) and Filipinos (68 percent) think China's expanding martial capabilities are bad for their country," the report said.

The Japanese have given China the worst ratings in the survey with only 5 percent of them expressing a positive view.

"Territorial frictions with China are considered major problems in South Korea and the Philippines, although unlike Japan, South Koreans and Filipinos are divided in their overall assessments of China," the report said.

Young adult Filipinos, however, have a slightly more positive view about China with 54 percent of 18 to 29 years old find the country favorable. Only 38 percent of Filipinos over age 50 favor China, while 50 percent of those within the 39 to 40 age bracket have a positive opinion of it.

The Pew Research Center interviewed 37,653 respondents in 39 countries from March 2 through May 1, 2013. Interviews were conducted face-to-face or by telephone, depending on the country, and are representative of at least 95 percent of the adult population of each nation except for China and Pakistan, where the samples were disproportionately urban, Argentina, Bolivia, Greece, Indonesia and Malaysia, where some difficult to reach or rural populations were excluded, and the Czech Republic and Japan, where interviews were conducted either by cellular or landline telephone only.

Filipinos find America 'favorable'

Meanwhile, the United States has a more positive image in the Philippines than China does.

The Pew study showed that almost nine in 10 or 85 percent of Filipinos favor the US, while only one in two or 48 percent of the population find China favorable.

Most of the people in the country also think that the US is an ally, with only three percent saying they see it as an enemy and 13 percent think the US is neither a friend nor foe.

The Philippines' positive perception of America is recorded the highest in Asia and fourth globally. The US is seen as an ally by 90 percent in Israel, 88 percent in El Salvador and 84 percent in Senegal.

Filipinos' positive opinion of the America, however, has slightly slipped since 2002 when 90 percent of Filipinos saw the country favorable. - With report from AP

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