Why some Asians love Trump

Filipino and Vietnamese citizens reportedly have the strongest confidence in US President Donald Trump in the world, a new survey by the Pew Research Centre has found.

While the report showed America’s “brand” has been tarnished by the Trump presidency, 69 percent of the Philippines and 58 percent of people in Vietnam reported that they have confidence in the US leader to “do the right thing regarding world affairs.”

Israel, Nigeria and Russia also exhibited high levels of confidence in Trump. Of the 37 countries surveyed by Pew in 2017, a median of only 22 percent report having “at least some confidence.” Almost three quarters have “little to no confidence” in the president.

While a recent survey found that America’s image in Southeast Asia had been damaged by Trump’s support for Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs, Filipinos demonstrate amongst the highest levels of support for the American leader.

A significant majority (67 percent) of the Philippines said that Trump is “well-qualified to be president”, while 71 percent of people in Vietnam gave him the thumbs up.

By comparison, only 15 percent of Japanese citizens and 22 percent of Indonesians expressed confidence in Trump’s qualifications. Political leaders in Muslim-majority Indonesia have responded with ambivalence to the president’s controversial “Muslim ban.”

A majority of the world saw Trump’s defining characteristics as being arrogant, intolerant and dangerous. A majority of Australians (89 percent), South Koreans (85 percent), Japanese (80 percent), Indonesians (70 percent) see the president as arrogant.

More than half (54 percent) of Vietnam and the Philippines said that Trump was “caring about ordinary people,” while less than one in five Indonesians or Koreans said the same.

Rating Trump’s charisma, 68 percent of people in Vietnam gave the president good marks, compared with 62 percent in South Korea and 54 percent in Japan.

Only 22 percent of Indians, meanwhile, thought of Trump as charismatic.

In Mexico, only five percent have confidence in Trump.

Fifty-five percent of Filipinos surveyed believe the relationship between the Philippines and U.S. will stay the same, while 26 percent think it will improve.

Majority of those surveyed worldwide said Trump is a strong leader, but few describe him as qualified and caring.

Sixty-nine percent of Filipinos described Trump as a "strong leader," while 67 percent said he is "well-qualified to be president."

Fifty-one percent said he is charismatic and 54 percent said he is caring about ordinary people.

However, nearly half of Filipinos interviewed for the survey believe Trump is arrogant (49 percent), intolerant (46 percent), and dangerous (41 percent).

President Rodrigo Duterte and Trump have cordial relations and have spoken by phone at least twice. The first in December 2016 when Duterte called Trump to congratulate him on winning the US presidency.

In a leaked transcript of an April 29 phone call between the two leaders, Trump praised Duterte's "unbelievable job on the drug problem," referring to the Philippine government's war on drugs, entering its second year in July.

The U.S. leader has invited his Philippine counterpart to visit the White House. Duterte has yet to accept.

Trump is expected in the Philippines in November 2017 for the ASEAN leaders' summit and related meetings in November 2017.

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