Higher confidence in Biden than Xi, global survey shows; lowest trust in Putin
While global confidence in United States President Joe Biden has dipped from a year ago, most countries surveyed still have more confidence in him than in China's leader Xi Jinping, an international study published in June showed.
A separate study also showed that most people in Southeast Asia would prefer Asean to align itself with the United States.
Of the respondents from 18 countries in the West and Asia surveyed by the Washington-based Pew Research Centre, just two - Singapore and Malaysia - expressed more trust in Xi than in Biden.
Asked if they had confidence in the leaders to do the right thing regarding world affairs, a median of 60 per cent said they had some or a lot of confidence in Biden as opposed to just 18 per cent for his Chinese counterpart.
Trust in the US President was highest in Poland (82 per cent) and Sweden (74 per cent), in contrast to a respective 11 per cent and 13 per cent for China's Xi.
Asian countries surveyed included South Korea and Japan - both traditional US allies that regularly hold combined defence drills with the superpower. Both countries showed overwhelmingly more trust in Biden over Xi.
Around 70 per cent of South Koreans expressed confidence in Biden, as opposed to 12 per cent for Xi, while 62 per cent of Japanese respondents trusted the American Democrat, compared with a paltry 9 per cent for the Communist Party leader.
Ratings for Biden slipped from a year ago, with declines of 20 percentage points or more in Italy, Singapore and France.
The Pew researchers said one issue that affected international views of Biden could have been the US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2021. A median of 57 per cent across 17 countries polled, excluding the US, said the pullout was not handled well.
The researchers said that confidence in China's President stayed roughly the same from a year ago. However, not all countries' respondents trusted Biden more than Xi to do the right thing on the international stage.
Singapore and Malaysia stood out among the 18 nations surveyed for respondents having higher confidence in China's President than in the US leader.
Around 69 per cent in Singapore and 62 per cent in Malaysia said they had some or a lot of confidence in Xi, as opposed to 48 per cent (Singapore) and 53 per cent (Malaysia) for Biden.
The survey, which was part of a study to analyse global attitudes towards the US, Nato and Russia, also asked people to rate three other major world leaders: Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Globally, a median of 90 per cent of respondents said they had no trust at all in Putin to do the right thing in world affairs.
The nationally representative survey of almost 20,000 adults was conducted from Feb 14 to May 11, coinciding with Russia's Feb 24 invasion of Ukraine and likely leading to Putin being perceived as the least trusted of the key world leaders included in the survey.
However, Malaysia (59 per cent) and Singapore (36 per cent) stood out for having some or a lot of confidence in the Russian leader, although this was lower than their ratings of Xi.
A median of just 9 per cent across the 18 countries expressed trust in the Russian President.
Similar to ratings of Biden, a median of 62 per cent have confidence in Macron and 59 per cent have confidence in Scholz to do the right thing in world affairs.
The sentiment of favouring the US over China was also captured in a separate ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute survey in 10 Asean nations published in February.
As Beijing and Washington compete for influence and leadership in the region, the US continues to enjoy popular support in Asean.
Asked to choose which of the two strategic rivals Asean should align itself with, 57 per cent of respondents across the countries polled chose the US, compared with 43 per cent who chose China.
But significantly, choosing a side remained the least popular option (11 per cent) among those surveyed, with 46 per cent preferring the proactive notion that Asean should "enhance its resilience and unity" amid pressure from the two superpowers.
The Straits Times
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