Australians Express Historically Low Diminished Trust in China, Poll Says
A nationwide poll, conducted on March 2020, which surveyed 2448 Australian adults, indicates that only 23% of Australians trust China to be responsible in the world. The figure is an almost double drop of 52% of Australians who believed the same in 2018.
The report also shows that an overwhelming number of Australians trust the United Kingdom and Japan at 84% and 82%, respectively, compared to the 51% who trust the United States.
“Trust in our largest partner-china- has declined precipitously. Confidence in China’s leader, Xi Jinping, has fallen even further.” The report stated.
Additionally, trust that U.S. President Donald Trump would act right in regards to “world affairs” stands at 30%, compared to last year’s 25%.
Australia and China’s Growing Tension
In the last two years, the tension between the two countries has grown dramatically. Only 22% of Australians express confidence in China’s President Xi Jinping’s governance.
“When thinking about the way China handled the outbreak, 68% say they feel ‘less favorable towards China’s system of government.'” Stated the report.
“Now, it would seem entirely reasonable and sensible that the world would want to have an independent assessment of how this all occurred, so we can learn the lessons and prevent it from happening again.” Said Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison.
China is Australia’s largest trading partner, and imports up to 30% of all Australian exports. China retaliated with several measures, including suspending beef imports from Australia.
“The impact on China is very small,” said a Chinese buyer trading firm. “There are a lot of other countries exporting to China. There are no products (from Australia) that cannot be replaced.”
“China also retaliated further by slapping huge tariffs on barley from Australia, advising Chinese citizens against traveling to Australia and discouraging students from applying to Australian universities.
The poll now indicates that, while 55% still consider China an “economic partner,” 41% consider China a security threat. 94% would like the government to reduce their ‘economic dependence” on China.
“Almost all Australians would like to see diversification in order to reduce our economic dependence on China, and most would support travel and financial sanctions on Chinese officials associated with human rights abuses,” stated the report.
Amidst the tension, however, 31% of Australians, compared to 10%, believe that China has managed the coronavirus outbreak better than the U.S.
China’s Economy Will Slow Down
While the global economy is still in recession due to coronavirus lockdown measures, economic news out of most countries remains unfavorable as most economies are in a recession.
Australia started 2020 on a disaster-stricken path after wildfire ravaged a huge part of the country. It destroyed property, natural resources, and wild animals before the Coronavirus pandemic.
“Over 18 million hectares have burned in the Australian bushfire season 2019–2020 as of mid-January according to media reports, destroying over 5,900 buildings including over 2,800 homes. In addition to human fatalities, many millions of animals are reported to have been killed.” According to a United Nations report.
59% of Australians now believe that China’s economy, the most likely to achieve any growth in 2020, will “slow down”. This will in turn make the Australian economy suffer. 48% of Australians, however, believe that China’s economic growth is likely to continue and, in turn, benefit Australia.
More Australians Support Change of Leadership in the U.S.
Australians feel that the United States has so far had an inferior response to the coronavirus crisis than China.
According to the poll, 43% of Australians expressed “no confidence at all” for U.S. President Donald Trump, with 27% expressing “not too much confidence,” while only 9% expressed “a lot of confidence.”
“Lacking confidence in president Trump, Australians are leaning towards a change of U.S. presidents in the November presidential election.”
78% believe that their alliance with the U.S. is “very” or “fairly important” to their national security. However, they still disagree with several of Trump’s “signature policies”. These include Trump’s negotiations with North Korea and relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Most Australians continue to believe that our alliance with the United States is important to our security. But trust in the United States has stagnated, and few Australians have confidence in President Trump.” The Institute stated.
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