China's perception in Group of Seven developed nations has worsened due to Beijing's failure to explicitly condemn Russia's aggression against Ukraine, with more people considering it a "threat" compared with before Moscow's invasion, according to survey results released Tuesday.
Respondents were asked how they perceived other countries, with those seen as "allies" counted positively, and those seen as "threats" deducted points. China's perception, already having slipped into "threat" status among G-7 nations, worsened the most in Italy, dropping 21 points to -30 to from a previous score of -9.
Germany's perception of China dropped 12 points to -40 compared with -28 from in the last survey conducted in November 2021, despite the fact that Rome and Berlin had built close economic ties with Beijing. Japan's perception also lowered by six points and the United States by two points, the survey said.
"More people (in the G-7) now see China as a threat (not an ally) than did so in November 2021," the Munich Security Conference, an organization named for the German city that annually hosts a summit on international security policy, said in its latest report.
"Our data suggest that China's response to the Russian invasion and its support for Russia has had a clear effect," Tobias Bunde, co-author of the report, told Kyodo News in an email.
"In Germany, people are now debating whether the country is repeating the mistakes of its Russia policy -- only with regard to China," Bunde wrote.
China has repeatedly abstained from the U.N. Security Council and General Assembly draft resolutions condemning Russia since it invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, while last week the two countries reaffirmed their partnership via a phone call between President Xi Jinping and President Vladimir Putin.
More than 50 percent of respondents across all G-7 countries said they had become more wary of China's own ambitions such as a possible attack on Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a renegade province to be reunified with the mainland, by force if necessary.
Japan reported the highest percentage of respondents that said they felt more cautious regarding China's territorial ambitions at 58 percent, following comments from Prime Minister Fumio Kishida saying that "(Today's) Ukraine may be East Asia tomorrow."
The majority in every G-7 country except Italy responded they were concerned that the risk of Beijing invading another state has grown if they do not stand up to Russia. Britain yielded the highest amount of agreeing responses with 63 percent, while Italy had the only non-majority figure at 47 percent.
MSC, dubbed as a foreign and security policy version of the annual World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland, surveyed 1,000 people from each G-7 economy, mounting to a total sample of 7,000 ahead of the three-day G-7 summit set to start from Sunday in Schloss Elmau, southern Germany.
Between 60 and 70 percent of all respondents said that they saw the Ukraine invasion as "a turning point in world politics."
Meanwhile, previously waning confidence in the role of the G-7 alliance as a "steering committee" on the international stage has now seen a "striking comeback," the report said.