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17% of S. Koreans have confidence in Trump: poll

US President Donald Trump speaks to the media prior to departing on Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, September 15, 2020. (AFP-Yonhap)
US President Donald Trump speaks to the media prior to departing on Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, DC, September 15, 2020. (AFP-Yonhap)

Only 17 percent of South Koreans said they have confidence in US President Donald Trump, the US think tank Pew Research Center said Tuesday.

Last year, 46 percent of Koreans polled said they had confidence in the US leader. It was the sharpest on-year decline among the 13 countries surveyed, the others being Japan, Canada and 10 European countries.

The prolonged defense cost-sharing talks, in which Korea is under pressure to accept a dramatic hike in its contribution toward the upkeep of the 28,500 American soldiers stationed here, is seen as one of the reasons for the loss of confidence.

Other countries polled also showed dips, with confidence levels ranging from 10 percent to 20 percent and with the median standing at 16 percent.

But Korea stood out as the only country where a majority of the population, 59 percent, views the US positively. Italy and Japan came next at 45 percent and 41 percent, respectively. Japan, however, saw the biggest decline in the rating, which was 68 percent in 2019.

Korea and Japan were the only two countries that picked the US as the leading economic power, with 77 percent of Koreans and 53 percent of Japanese saying so, while all the rest said it was China.

Italians showed the strongest leanings toward China at 57 percent, followed by Germans at 55 percent and Spaniards at 51 percent.

A large number of respondents in all the countries polled said the US response to the coronavirus outbreak was “very bad.” Of the 13 countries, the median for this answer was 53 percent.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)
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