Pew: 69% of Filipinos trust Trump, but more oppose his trade policy

By Mikas Matsuzawa

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U.S. President Donald Trump waves to the U.S. troops at the U.S. Yokota Air Base, on the outskirts of Tokyo, Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017. President Trump arrived in Japan Sunday on a five-nation trip to Asia, his second extended foreign trip since taking office and his first to Asia. The trip will take him to Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and Philippines for summits of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko
MANILA, Philippines — A Pew survey showed that US President Donald Trump's greatest support comes from the Philippines but many in the country also disagree with the policy directions he embraced.
 
Pew Research Center echoed on Saturday key findings from its Global Attitudes Survey last June but this time focusing on the countries on Trump's first Asia tour.
 
Trump kicked off on Sunday his five-country tour which begins with a visit to Japan. He then heads to South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines.
 
The poll center found that four countries on Trump's Asia trip were divided on whether he would do the right thing when it comes to world affairs. China was not among the 37 countries Pew surveyed last June.
 
Trump saw the greatest support from Filipinos at 69 percent. A majority of Vietnamese also expressed confidence at 58 percent.
 
Japan (24%) and South Korea (17%), meanwhile, showed dramatically lower confidence in Trump compared to former US President Barack Obama during the end of his term. Japan saw a 54-percentage-point drop in confidence in the US president while South Korea fell by 71 percentage points.
 
Many in Asia still see the US as the world's leading economic power as opposed to a majority polled in the European Union where China is seen as the top economy, Pew said.
 
READ: Trump's Southeast Asia strategy an 'enigma,' analyst says
 
But confidence in Chinese President Xi Jinping was over twice greater than Trump in South Korea at 38 percent. In the Philipines, 53 percent trust Xi on world affairs.
 
Trust that Xi would do the right thing regarding international affairs were lower in Vietnam (18%) and Japan (11%).

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Jitters on Trump policies, North Korea
Majority of South Koreans (80%), Filipinos (72%), Japanese (66%) and Vietnamese (61%) disapprove with Trump's policies that withdraw the US from major trade deals. At the time the survey was conducted, the US leader signed an executive order withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement.
 
The four countries also opposed the policy to withdraw US support from international climate change agreements. 
 
READ: Asia braces for Trump and his unpredictable foreign policy
 
Despite disagreements with the current US policy direction, the Philippines is the most optimistic of the four countries with 55 percent saying Manila's ties with Washington would remain the same and 26 percent thinking it would get better.
 
Vietnam followed with 41 percent saying relations with the US would be unchanged and 35 percent saying things would improve.
 
Japan, which is a signatory to the TPP trade deal along with Vietnam, expressed less optimism with 41 percent expecting relations to get worse under Trump and 34 percent thinking it would stay the same.
 
Forty-three South Koreans also expect things to get worse under Trump while 45 percent see things remaining the same.
 
READ: Protocol for Trump in Asia means no insults, no surprises
 
Meanwhile, Concern on the North Korea nuclear threat, a major issue Trump wants to address during his tour, is highest among Pyongyang's closest neighbors of South Korea (85%), Japan (90%) and the Philippines (87%).

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