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Filipinos ‘most concerned’ over China row in Asia-Pacific–survey

Palace welcomes data as positive development in sea dispute
/ 05:13 PM September 05, 2015

Filipinos are the most concerned with the territorial conflicts involving powerhouse China in the Asia-Pacific region, a survey by Pew Research Center shows.

In Pew’s 2015 survey of Asia-Pacific perceptions of various global threats, Filipinos’ concern over territorial disputes with China totaled to 91 percent (56 percent “very concerned” and 35 percent “somewhat concerned”), the highest among surveyed nations.

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Filipinos were followed by Vietnamese and Japanese with 83 percent concern and South Koreans with 78 percent.

Communications Secretary Hermino Coloma said the government saw the survey as a “positive development” as the country asserted its claims on the West Philippine Sea at the United Nations tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.

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“‘Yun pong pagkakaroon ng mataas na kaalaman at kamulatan hinggil sa isyung ‘yan ay mabuti sapagkat ipinapakita na mayroong kamalayan ang ating mga mamamayan at diyan manggagaling ‘yung kanilang pagnanasa na maging kaisa sila ng pamahalaan sa paglutas o sa pagharap sa problemang ‘yan dahil mas makakabuti kung mayroon tayong nagkakaisang citizenry,” Coloma said.

“A unified citizenry is needed in terms of asserting our national position on the need to respect our maritime entitlements,” he added.

READ: PH makes ‘impassioned plea’ vs China before UN tribunal | UN tribunal gives China another chance to respond

Despite considering the Philippines the “most troubled” country in the region, the survey showed that more than half of Filipinos (54 percent) had a generally positive view of China.

While only less than half (47 percent) of respondents in nine Asia-Pacific countries were confident that Chinese President Xi Jinping would “do the right thing regarding world affairs,” the survey also showed that majority of Filipinos viewed the Chinese leader favorably.

“Some of the Chinese president’s biggest fans are South Koreans (81%) ages 50 and older and Filipinos (59%) ages 18 to 29,” Pew said.

Despite the tension between Philippines and China, Coloma said the government was hoping that Xi, together with 20 other heads of state and government, will attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) leaders’ meeting in Manila in November. Yuji Vincent Gonzales/RC

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TAGS: Asia & Pacific, China, Government, Malacañang Palace, maritime dispute, Pew Research Center, sea row, South China sea, survey, Territorial dispute, UN Tribunal, West Philippine Sea
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