By Corina Oliquino

A survey by Washington-based Pew Research Center has found 64 percent of Filipinos said they rely on the US as a dependable ally in the future, with only nine percent of Filipinos seeing China as a dependable ally.

Pinoys’ rating of the US as a dependable ally dropped by 19 points from 83 percent in 2014, the poll released last December 4 also found 62 percent of Filipinos consider China as the greatest threat to the country in the future.

Moreover, the survey found only five percent of Filipinos considered the US as a threat while four percent named Russia and three percent named Japan as the country’s greatest threat.

The survey was conducted from May 25 to June 22 in the Philippines using face-to-face interviews among 1,035 adults.

“For results based on the full sample in a given country, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus the margin of error. The margin of error is larger for results based on subsamples in the survey,” Pew said.

SWS: 52% of Pinoys believe PH can have good relations with US, China

In a report by GMA News, figures from the Social Weather Stations (SWS) showed 52 percent of adult Filipinos believe the country can have good relations with both the US and China, while 41 percent said it was not possible and seven percent did not have an answer.

SWS also found that “those with ‘much trust’ in China have stronger belief that the Philippines can have a good relationship with both China and the US at the same time.”

“Results also showed that 78 percent believe that the Philippines’ relationship with the US is more important than its relationship with China, while 12 percent said otherwise,” the GMA News report noted.

Meanwhile, about half of the respondents in all areas in the Philippines said a good relationship with both countries were possible, with 53 percent in Mindanao, 52 percent in Metro Manila, 52 percent in Balance Luzon and 48 percent in Visayas.

Washington warns Asian allies to choose prudently to protect sovereign national interests

In a report by The Philippine Star, Assistant Sec. David Stilwell of the US Department of State-Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs in a speech on US, China and Pluralism in International Affairs at the Brookings Institution last December 2, said Washington supports a “pluralistic” Asia and will not force its allies to choose between the US and China.

Stilwell said 20 years of empty post-World Trade Organization (WTO) assurances that “China will continue to work toward greater openness” have triggered an overdue re-think of China, its ambitions and US response.

“The United States supports a pluralistic Asia. A pluralistic Asia is one in which the region’s diverse countries can continue to thrive as they wish. They are secure in their sovereign autonomy,” Stilwell said, noting China is a major consideration in the long-overdue changes to US policy in the Indo-Pacific region the Trump administration has made.

Stilwell stressed that China sees international relations as about hierarchy and big-makes-right and that Beijing is not respectful of pluralism or sovereign autonomy which he notes will allow countries to enjoy open and shared use of the global commons, international waters with airspace belonging to all and no one country can convert them into a sole possession or a zone of exclusion.

“Now, let’s consider the commonly heard concern that countries will be forced to choose between the United States and China. I want you to know, they won’t be forced to make such a choice by the United States,” Stilwell said, noting America’s vision is pluralistic and inclusive.

“We encourage our allies and partners to choose prudently, in ways that protect their sovereign national interests,” he adds.

“Sovereignty means the ability to live free of foreign domination, to live according to one’s own laws and make one’s own decisions,” Stilwell noted.

“We’re not looking to dictate to others and we want our allies and friends not to be subject to anyone else’s dictates. Choosing for sovereignty is important because without it, the freedom to choose at all could be lost,” he added.