Survey: How ASEAN Nations Perceive U.S. and Chinese Influence in the Region

Survey: How ASEAN Nations Perceive U.S. and Chinese Influence in the Region

This illustration represents the findings from a 2024 poll by the ASEAN Studies Centre at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute. The survey, which included nearly 2,000 participants, inquired about their concerns or acceptance of the increasing geopolitical sway of China and the United States within their nations.

The survey encompassed member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which is comprised of 10 Southeast Asian countries. Attitudes Towards China A considerable portion of participants from each of the 10 nations expressed concern over the escalating influence of both the U.S. and China.

ASEAN towards China vs US (@seasia.stats)
ASEAN perspective towards China  (@seasia.stats)

Nonetheless, apprehension is more pronounced towards China, with 74% expressing concern (compared to 59% for the U.S.). Lingering yet diminished disputes over the South China Sea’s sovereignty could be influencing these views, particularly in nations with claims to the region.

For instance, in Vietnam, an overwhelming 95% of those surveyed are apprehensive about China’s expanding influence. Attitudes Towards America On the other hand, the Philippines (69%) and Vietnam (55%)—both contenders in the South China Sea disputes—greet the growing influence of America positively. However, regionally, the number of respondents who are anxious about the increasing American influence (59%) surpasses those who are receptive to it (41%).

ASEAN perspective towards China (@seasia.stats)

Remarkably, nearly every ASEAN country seems to favor one superpower over the other.

Thailand stands out as the sole exception, with the majority of its surveyed population uneasy about both powers, with 84% concerned about China, and 80% about the U.S.

Key points:

  • Regional Concerns: The survey highlights that Southeast Asia's primary concerns are unemployment, climate change, and the growing economic tensions between major powers
  • Geopolitical Stance: The region's top geopolitical worry is the Israel-Hamas conflict. Interestingly, China has surpassed the US as the preferred ally if ASEAN nations had to choose sides in the US-China rivalry
  • Survey Demographics: The survey reached out to 1,994 individuals, with the highest number of respondents from Singapore (273), followed by Indonesia (265) and Malaysia (225)
  • Economic Influence: China is viewed as the most influential economic power in the region by 59.5% of respondents, outpacing the US by a significant margin
  • Strategic Influence: In terms of political-strategic influence, 43.9% see China as the leading power, again ahead of the US
  • ASEAN's Response to Rivalry: About half of the respondents believe ASEAN should enhance its resilience and unity to fend off pressure from the two major powers
  • Shift in Preference: There has been an 11.6% increase since 2023 in respondents preferring to partner with China over the United States, marking a significant shift in regional preference

These insights provide a deeper understanding of the complex dynamics and sentiments within ASEAN countries regarding the influence of global superpowers. The information reflects the nuanced perspectives that exist in the region, shaped by both historical ties and current geopolitical developments


(1) The State of Southeast Asia: 2024 Survey Report.

(2) ASEAN is more pro-China than US: Survey - The Jakarta Post.

(3) Survey shows Southeast Asians favor China over U.S. - CGTN.

(4) Is Southeast Asia Leaning More Toward China? | TIME.

(5) ASEAN: Annual Survey Shows Turn in Favor of China | RANE.


(7) State of Southeast Asia Survey - ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute.


Akhyari Hananto

I began my career in the banking industry in 1997, and stayed approx 6 years in it. This industry boost his knowledge about the economic condition in Indonesia, both macro and micro, and how to More understand it. My banking career continued in Yogyakarta when I joined in a program funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB),as the coordinator for a program aimed to help improve the quality of learning and teaching process in private universities in Yogyakarta. When the earthquake stroke Yogyakarta, I chose to join an international NGO working in the area of ?disaster response and management, which allows me to help rebuild the city, as well as other disaster-stricken area in Indonesia. I went on to become the coordinator for emergency response in the Asia Pacific region. Then I was assigned for 1 year in Cambodia, as a country coordinator mostly to deliver developmental programs (water and sanitation, education, livelihood). In 2009, he continued his career as a protocol and HR officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Surabaya, and two years later I joined the Political and Economic Section until now, where i have to deal with extensive range of people and government officials, as well as private and government institution troughout eastern Indonesia. I am the founder and Editor-in-Chief in Good News From Indonesia (GNFI), a growing and influential social media movement, and was selected as one of The Most Influential Netizen 2011 by The Marketeers magazine. I also wrote a book on "Fundamentals of Disaster Management in 2007"?, "Good News From Indonesia : Beragam Prestasi Anak Bangsa di dunia"? which was luanched in August 2013, and "Indonesia Bersyukur"? which is launched in Sept 2013. In 2014, 3 books were released in which i was one of the writer; "Indonesia Pelangi Dunia"?, "Indonesia The Untold Stories"? and "Growing! Meretas Jalan Kejayaan" I give lectures to students in lectures nationwide, sharing on full range of issues, from economy, to diplomacy Less
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