By AJ Bolando, philstar,
MANILA, Philippines – Despite President Rodrigo Duterte’s friendliness towards China, more Filipinos said in a survey that they do not trust the country.
Pulse Asia released its latest poll on “awareness and trust ratings of selected countries and international organizations” on Tuesday. China ranked lowest in the survey conducted in March, with 63 percent of respondents saying they distrust China. This was two points lower compared to ratings in December 2016.
China’s trust rating in March was 37 percent, lowest among eight nations and organizations included in the survey conducted from March 15 to 20.
Russia, the world’s largest nation, had improved ratings. Its distrust and trust ratings were at 36 and 42 percent, respectively.
The United States of America, meanwhile, remained the most trusted nation among Filipinos, according to 1,200 adult respondents of the quarterly survey.
The long-time ally of the Philippines enjoyed a 79 percent trust rating and a three-point decrease in its distrust rating to 20 percent.
Japan’s trust rating surged by five points to 75 percent, while new entry Australia obtained 69 percent.
A 14-point swell in its rating showed that Filipinos trust Great Britain/United Kingdom more at 53 percent.
The United Nations and Association of Southeast Asian Nations received trust ratings of 82 and 81 percent, respectively.
Incidentally, the two nations most distrusted by respondents are the countries with whom Duterte seeks to strengthen diplomatic ties.
Duterte’s treatment of China, especially in relation to the dispute in the West Philippine Sea, has earned the president criticism from those who want the Philippines to insist on a UN-backed arbitral ruling saying China’s nine-dash-line claim over the South China Sea has no legal basis. He has said he will bring up the ruling at some point.
Over the weekend, US President Donald Trump invited Duterte to the White House, but the Philippine president said he may have to turn down the offer because of prior commitments. Duterte has long been critical of the US for its supposed meddling in Philippine domestic affairs