David Shambaugh: Beijing charms its neighbors

From The International Herald Tribune, via Glimpse of the World:

In a recent poll of Australians conducted by the Lowy Institute in , 69 percent of those surveyed had “positive feelings” towards China, while only 58 percent had such sentiment for Australia’s staunch ally, the .

Other surveys over recent months in South and Thailand – which, together with Australia, the Philippines and Japan are the formal U.S. allies in Asia – have revealed similar shifts in perceptions. The Thai and South Korean publics clearly hold very positive images of China, while their esteem for the United States has declined. What’s going on here? At the governmental level, all five allies profess their official allegiance to the U.S. alliance architecture that has maintained peace and in East Asia since at least 1975. But these reflect rather dramatic shifts in opinion throughout many Asian societies in favor of China over America. The significant exceptions to this rule are Japan and . Underlying these shifting public perceptions are three phenomena.

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