Competition for the “hearts and minds” of people around the world has intensified with the worsening of the relations between the US and China. We will present the results of our new public opinion survey covering 56 countries worldwide which offers new and unique evidence of global attitudes towards China, US, Europe, and international affairs in general. While the US remains globally ahead of China in terms of public favourability, it faces trust deficit in several important countries. In particular, the hardened public attitudes in the US and China create a context in which the two largest economies can hardly engage in positive partnership. Based on our analysis of the survey data and the Indo-Pacific strategies of the key European stakeholders, we will argue that Europe has unique potential to contribute: being a traditional ally of the US and still engaging in functional dialogue with China as well as all key regional actors (such as ASEAN), it can act as a generally trusted actor in building open and stable Indo-Pacific.
About the speakers
Alfred Gerstl is a specialist on international relations in the Indo-Pacific, notably in Southeast Asia. His research interests include ASEAN’s regional centrality, hedging strategies in Southeast Asia, the South China Sea dispute, China’s Belt and Road Initiative as well as traditional and non-traditional security threats. His most recent publication is “Hedging Strategies in Southeast Asia: ASEAN, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam and their Relations with China”. Alfred is currently Associate Professor at the Department of Asian Studies at Palacky University Olomouc (Czech Republic) and senior researcher in the Department’s EU-funded project “SInophone Borderlands – Interaction at the Edges”. From January 2023 on, he will head the EU-funded project “The EU in the volatile Indo-Pacific region”. Moreover, Alfred is President of the transnational think tank Central European Institute of Asian Studies (CEIAS) and lecturer at the University of Vienna. Previously, he worked as Associate Professor and post-researcher, respectively in Austria, Russia, Germany and Australia.
Richard Q. Turcsanyi is a Key Researcher at Palacky University Olomouc, Assistant Professor at Mendel University in Brno, and Program Director at the Central European Institute of Asian Studies (CEIAS). He holds a Ph.D. in International Relations and further degrees in economy and political science. In past, he conducted long-term research stays at the University of Toronto, Peking University, National Chengchi University in Taipei, and the European Institute for Asian Studies in Brussels. He is an author of “Chinese Assertiveness in the South China Sea” and has published a number of academic articles and opinion pieces on Chinese foreign policy, relations between China and (Central and Eastern) Europe, and Chinese soft power. He is a member of various networks focusing on contemporary China and EU-China relations, including European Think Tank Network on China (ETNC), a COST action “China in Europe Research Network” (CHERN), or Chinese Observers in Central and Eastern Europe (CHOICE). Most recently, he has conducted surveys of public attitudes towards China in various countries around the world, as part of the Sinophone Borderlands project (www.sinofon.cz/surveys).