We are in a truly multipolar world. The US is still ahead, but large swathes of the world view China as the leading power.
A Pew survey shows “in seven of the 10 European Union nations, China is considered the leading economic power (it is tied with the US for top spot in Italy).” However, India continues to believe US is the world’s leading economy. In fact, 41% of Indians have an unfavourable view of China, and just 26% have a more positive image of it.
India is joined by Japan, parts of Asia and Latin America in rooting for the Americans even as most of Russia believes China is the economic leader. Interestingly, “China leads the US by a two-to-one margin in Australia – a longtime US ally, but also a country whose top trading partner is China.”
About 47% of the 38 nations polled have a favourable opinion of China, while 37% are unfavourably disposed. Post Trump, global approval for the US stands at 49%, with 39% giving a thumbs down. What is common between the US and China is that both their leaders, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, are viewed negatively.
About “53% say they do not have confidence in Jinping in world affairs. A much greater share (74%) express little or no confidence in Trump. Xi is less well-known than Trump: One-in-five do not have an opinion of Jinping, while only a median of 8% have no opinion about Trump.”
Vladimir Putin is liked even less than Xi. The only leader who makes the cut is German chancellor Angela Merkel – 42% have confidence in (her), just 31% say they do not.”
Russia and Nigeria are China’s biggest cheerleaders, with over 70% approval. In many big Asian nations, China is viewed much more negatively, “with a particularly steep decline in South Korea”.
Australia has the most positive view of China in Asia (64%). Xi Jinping receives negative approval in US, but curiously more people in India are ambivalent about him. “South Korea is the most likely to say that the US is the leading economic power (66%).”