Photo taken on Sept. 10, 2021 shows a view of the Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Center, the venue for the 18th China-ASEAN Expo and the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, in Nanning, capital of the region. Zhuang Autonomous Region of Guangxi (southern China). The 18th China-ASEAN Expo and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit kicked off on September 10 in Nanning, underscoring the building of a closer China-ASEAN community with a shared future. Photo: Xinhua
While China-related topic is expected to dominate the upcoming US-ASEAN summit, a recent survey showed nearly 80% of Chinese respondents said the US was the biggest disruptor to healthy China-ASEAN relations. and ASEAN members, but about 90% viewed China-ASEAN ties as friendly and more than 75% have a positive attitude towards their future.
The survey was conducted jointly by the Global Times Research Center and the Center for Chinese Foreign Strategy Studies at Renmin University of China between March 15 and April 15 in 31 Chinese provinces, regions and municipalities among the general public aged 18 to 69 years old and students. It collected 2,012 valid questionnaires from the general public and 1,150 from students.
About 61.8 percent of respondents said they have a good impression of ASEAN, and those who have visited ASEAN members share high scores in terms of impression of the region. On average, the Chinese public’s level of affection towards ASEAN, with a score of 3.8, is much higher than other blocs and countries. The level for the EU is 3.2 and that for the United States is 2.4.
Most university students are impressed by ASEAN’s rich resources and culture. They also share a higher level of affection for the region than for the US, EU, Australia, Japan and other countries and regions.
“These results showed that China and ASEAN have developed very fruitful relations over the past two to three decades,” Lü Xiang, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. This is a result of the increased efforts of Chinese diplomacy towards Southeast Asia.
The survey also shows that although fewer Southeast Asian countries share differences with China on issues like the South China Sea, these conflicts are under control and have not become “the dominant tone” for bilateral relations. The Chinese public supports and trusts China’s policy and its relations with ASEAN, Lü said.
Although 10 ASEAN members share great differences, China has handled relations with them quite well, whether through diplomatic efforts or infrastructure cooperation under the Belt Initiative. and the Route” proposed by China, all of which laid the foundation for the positive momentum between China and ASEAN. ties, experts said.
More than 90% of respondents said they are interested in ASEAN, and nearly two-thirds of them share very high interests. For example, the region’s culture and arts have become a big draw for Chinese audiences. The area’s business and commerce, technology, nature, history and sports attract about 40% of respondents, according to the survey.
Of the students surveyed, 54.3% said they know about ASEAN and more than 50% said they know about the region’s politics, geography, culture and economy.
Some 90.4 percent of respondents said China-ASEAN relations were “friendly” and more than two-thirds rated it as “very friendly” and “relatively friendly.”
“These survey results are in line with the Chinese people’s objective perception of the development of China-ASEAN relations,” said Xu Liping, a research fellow of Southeast Asian studies at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, recently. Beijing Social Sciences, to the Global Times.
In China’s neighboring diplomacy, ASEAN occupies a very important position, Xu said, noting that ordinary Chinese people will have a higher degree of favor and affinity for ASEAN, compared to Europe and the UNITED STATES.
“It objectively shows that there is a strong internal driving force for the development of China-ASEAN relations, and enhancing people-to-people cooperation and friendly exchanges will continue to be the mainstream of bilateral relations,” he said. he declared.
While more than 75% of respondents have a positive view of the future development of China-ASEAN relations, the South China Sea issue has become a major focus of China-ASEAN relations, which has been mediated and manipulated by countries like the United States. and Japan in the turmoil of the China-ASEAN disputes. And nearly 80 percent of respondents said the United States is the biggest disruptor to the development of China-ASEAN relations.
While the Chinese public shares high interests for ASEAN members, Singapore has become the country that has attracted them the most. The average affection and interest score for Singapore is above 4, with the highest score of 5, followed by Malaysia and Thailand, which both scored 3.8.
Chinese students are most attracted to Singapore, followed by Thailand and Malaysia.
How the Chinese view China-ASEAN relations Graphic: Deng Zijun/GT