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 Sydney, 69 percent of those surveyed had “positive feelings” towards China, while only 58 percent had such sentiment for Australia’s staunch ally, the United States.

Other surveys over recent months in South Korea and Thailand – which, together with Australia, the Philippines and Japan are the formal U.S. allies in – 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 stability in East since at least 1975. But these polls reflect rather dramatic shifts in public opinion throughout many Asian societies in favor of China over America. The significant exceptions to this rule are Japan and Taiwan. Underlying these shifting public perceptions are three phenomena.

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