Trust in China among Filipinos tumbles further in Q3

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 20) — Filipinos trust in the country's newfound friend China continued to tumble in the third quarter, a new poll showed.

Trust in Beijing sank nine points from -24 in June to -33, plunging confidence in the East Asian giant from “poor” to “bad,” according to private pollster Social Weather Stations.

The survey of 1,800 adults — conducted from September 27 to 30 — showed that less than three in 10 people or just 21 percent expressed “much trust” in China, while 23 percent were undecided and a majority of 54 percent said they have little trust in the regional power.

The SWS did not state any reasons behind the drop in confidence in China for the second consecutive quarter, but the poll was conducted after reports of unauthorized passage of Chinese warships in Philippine waters.

At least nine Chinese warships have sailed in Philippine waters since February, with some of these ships failing to inform local authorities or even deliberately turning off their navigation systems to evade detection. Manila has protested their presence several times.

During this time, Chinese vessels again swarmed Pag-asa Island and Beijing rejected anew the 2016 arbitral ruling that junked its nine-dash line claim over virtually the entire South China Sea.

President Rodrigo Duterte also said during this time that China has warned of “trouble” if oil explorations in the West Philippine Sea, the portion of the South China Sea that Manila claims, continue. Manila and Beijing also moved forward in their oil exploration deal.

Filipinos’ trust in Vietnam also fell, dropping to “neutral” at zero from +13 in December 2017.

Trust in the US, Manila’s traditional ally, remained “excellent” at +72, while trust in Australia and Japan stayed “very good” at +37 and +46, respectively.

Filipinos’ trust in Australia, however, dropped by nine points, while trust in Japan dropped by 10 points from June.