(June 13th, 2016) A poll of Australians suggest that most believe that China has become the most influential nation in the Asia-Pacific region and that more want stronger ties with the rising superpower than with the U.S., The Guardian reported.
Enthusiasm for a strong U.S. role in the Asia-Pacific was also significantly lower in Australia than in South Korea, Indonesia, Japan and even China in some cases, according to the research released on Wednesday by the University of Sydney’s U.S .Studies Centre and regional partners.
The Guardian reported that “More Australians (70%) were likely to see Beijing and Washington as ‘competitors’ than even the Chinese citizens surveyed (50%), though the poll also found a significant lack of regional awareness among Australian respondents, 42% of whom were not aware that Japan was a U.S. ally.”
Only the South Koreans and the Japanese felt generally positive about the U.S. role in the region.
James Brown, a research director at the U.S. Studies Center, told The Guardian that the results suggested Australians “remain seized by the narrative that U.S. power is declining in the region” and had a “a benevolent view” of the rivalry between China and the U.S. and “might not automatically identify with Japanese concerns over China” – including disputes over islands in the South China Sea.