“The region’s trust deficit in China is trending upwards. China is the only major power that has increased its negative ratings from 60.4 percent in 2020 to 63 percent in 2021,” according “The State of Southeast Asia 2021” report. “China’s predominant economic and political influence in the region has created more awe than affection. … the majority worry that such economic heft, combined with China’s military power, could be used to threaten their country’s interest and sovereignty,” said the report.
The think-tank surveyed more than a 1,000 people in the 10 countries that form the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). The United States, by contrast, has “made a surprising turn-around” in positive ratings in 2021 from the year before – 48.3 percent this year compared with 30.3 percent last year.