Poll shows Australians' trust in China remains low

An opinion poll indicates that Australians' trust in China remains low. The survey by an Australian think-tank shows that less than 20 percent of respondents said they trust China.

The Lowy Institute on Monday announced the results of the survey that was conducted in March. It asked more than 2,000 people about how much they trust eight countries, in terms of whether they act responsibly in the world.

The poll shows that 17 percent of respondents said they trust China "a great deal" or "somewhat." That was an improvement from two years ago, when the figure was at an all-time low of 12 percent. But this year's rate shows public opinion on China remains negative, even while the bilateral economic relationship has improved.

Forty-four percent of respondents viewed China as an economic partner, while 53 percent said it is a security threat.

Institute researcher Ryan Neelam told public broadcaster ABC that people remember Beijing's economic coercion against Australia in the last few years. He notes that they continue to see news of Chinese ships using water cannons on Philippine vessels in the South China Sea.

As for other countries, the poll shows that 87 percent of respondents said they trust Japan. That rate was the highest for a fourth-consecutive year. France was 81 percent. The United States stood at 56 percent. Confidence in Russia was 8 percent.