Germans trust China more than the US, survey finds

Germans have little faith in the US as an ally under President Donald Trump, a survey has found. More than 40 percent even trust Beijing more than Washington.

Germans have an increasingly negative view of the relationship between their country and the US, a survey released on Friday indicated, with many seeing China as a more reliable partner.

Just over 42 percent of Germans who took part in the study said they saw China as a more reliable partner than the US, compared with 23.1 percent who favored the US over China.

The study was carried out by the research organization Civey and the not-for-profit group Atlantik-Brücke (Atlantic Bridge), which promotes greater cooperation between the US and Germany. 

In the survey summary, Michael Werz, from the Center for American Progress think tank and a member of the Atlantik-Brücke board, said that "despite all legitimate criticism of the current US government," Germans should "not let anti-American sentiment blind them to the dangers emanating from the authoritarian systems of Russia and China."

Some 85 percent of Germans have a negative or very negative opinion of current US-German relations, with only just over 10 percent viewing them in a positive light.

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A clear majority (57.6 percent) said they were in favor of putting more distance between the two trans-Atlantic allies. Only 13.1 percent said they would prefer to see the nations work more closely at present.

The survey took place with ties strained between the two countries. President Donald Trump has on several occasions criticized Germany for its export activity, low defense spending and reliance on Russian gas. Comments from the US president have, in the past, led to concerns about his commitment to NATO, and his willingness to honor the bloc's mutual self-defense pact.

Read more: Germans fear Donald Trump more than Vladimir Putin, poll finds

Burkhard Schwenker, deputy chairman of the Atlantik-Brücke, said the poll showed the need to push for more dialogue between the two allies at all levels.

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"Given the huge loss of confidence in the US, we need to engage more than ever in our talks with and about America," said Schwenker.

Donald Trump on Germany: Top quotes

The good, the bad and the ugly

US President Donald Trump has offered both candid praise and unabashed criticism of Germany and its policies. From calling German Chancellor Angela Merkel "possibly the greatest world leader" to describing her open-door refugee policy as a "catastrophic mistake," here are his most memorable quotes regarding Germany.

Donald Trump on Germany: Top quotes


"Germany's like sitting back silent, collecting money and making a fortune with probably the greatest leader in the world today, Merkel," Trump said in a 2015 interview with US news magazine Time.

Donald Trump on Germany: Top quotes

'Very bad'

"The Germans are bad, very bad ... Look at the millions of cars they sell in the US. Terrible. We'll stop that," Trump said during a NATO leaders summit, according to German news magazine Der Spiegel, which cited sources at the alliance's meeting.

Donald Trump on Germany: Top quotes

'Something in common'

"As far as wiretapping, I guess, by - you know - [the Obama] administration, at least we have something in common, perhaps," Trump said in March during a press conference with Merkel. He was referring to his unproven allegations that ex-President Barack Obama tapped his phone. There was widespread anger in Germany in 2013 when it was revealed the US National Security Agency tapped Merkel's phone.

Donald Trump on Germany: Top quotes


"I think she made one very catastrophic mistake and that was taking all of these illegals (sic), you know taking all of the people from wherever they come from," Trump said in a joint interview published by German daily Bild and British newspaper The Times, referring to Merkel's open-door policy for refugees fleeing war and persecution.

Donald Trump on Germany: Top quotes

'Germany owes vast sums of money'

"Despite what you have heard from the fake news, I had a great meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Nevertheless, Germany owes vast sums of money to NATO and the United States must be paid more for the powerful, and very expensive, defense it provides to Germany," Trump said in a two-tweet statement after meeting with Merkel for the first time in March 2017.

Donald Trump on Germany: Top quotes

'Turning their backs'

"The people of Germany are turning against their leadership as migration is rocking the already tenuous Berlin coalition," Trump tweeted in the midst of a row within the German goverment. He went on to claim that: "Crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!"

Read more: Germans and Americans 'worlds apart' in view of relations

While Germany still seeks to maintain friendly ties with the US, many of the country's political leaders have spoken publicly about an erosion of trust after Washington withdrew from several international treaties. They include the Paris climate accord and the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

Read more: Opinion: Is Germany courting China and abandoning the US?

The survey was carried out in November and December last year and involved some 5,000 participants.

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