Updated 17:22 PM PHT Tue, October 18, 2016
Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — President Rodrigo Duterte espouses rapprochement with China, but he's still got a lot to do to convince Filipinos, who still trust the United States.
A recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey shows that 55 percent, or five in 10 Filipinos, have "little trust" in China, which is rolling out the red carpet for Duterte in Beijing late Tuesday.
Only 22 percent said they have "much trust" in China, while the rest of those surveyed were undecided.
SWS interviewed 1,200 adults for the survey, which was conducted September 24 to 27, with a margin of error of ±3 percent. The results were published late Monday on BusinessWorld online.
China received the lowest trust rating of the seven countries included in the SWS survey with a 'bad" net trust rating of minus 33.
U.S. still trusted the most
In the same survey, respondents gave the highest trust rating for the U.S., despite Duterte's criticism of the Philippines' long-time ally the U.S. and U.S. President Barack Obama.
Seven in 10 or 76 percent of the respondents said they have "much trust" in the U.S. Only 11 percent expressed "little trust" in the U.S., resulting in a "very good" net trust rating of +66.
Other countries included in the survey based on their "relevance to foreign affairs" were Australia and Japan, which gained a "good" trust rating of +47 and +34, respectively.
Filipinos have "much trust' in Australia at 62 percent and Japan at 56 percent. The two countries are major sources of aid for the Philippines.
Respondents gave Norway a "moderate" +16 trust rating, with 41 percent expressing "much trust." Norway plays a role in facilitating peace negotiations between the Philippine government and Muslim rebels and Communist insurgents.
The Netherlands received a "moderate" trust rating of +14, with 40 percent saying they have "much trust." The Netherlands is the top investor in the country in 2015.
Taiwan, which the Philippines maintains robust bilateral relations with in trade and culture, got a "neutral" trust rating of +3 percent.
Filipinos' lack of trust in China
SWS first conducted a poll on the Filipinos' level of trust in foreign countries in 1994 under then President Fidel Ramos.
This was when the Chinese were first reported to have built concrete structures on Mischief Reef, known as Panganiban Reef to Filipinos, located in the Spratlys, about 129 nautical miles west of the island of Palawan.
Since then, China has gained negative trust ratings in the quarterly surveys except in seven quarters; three during the term of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and four under President Benigno Aquino III.
On the other hand, Filipinos have always given U.S. a positive trust rating, ranging from +18 to +82.
Duterte, accompanied by a big business delegation, will be in China from October 18 to 21.
This is his first state visit outside of Southeast Asia. He will meet with President Xi Jinping and China Premier Li Kequiang.
The President has said he will bring up with China's leaders the issue of the Philippines' maritime claims in the South China Sea, which were upheld in a landmark decision by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague last July.
CNN Philippines' Digital Producer Eimor P. Santos contributed to this report.