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Surveys reveal positive public attitudes (7)

By Cheng Guangjin and Chen Weihua (China Daily)

08:56, February 10, 2012

"This is entirely normal but, at any given moment, there is always something going on to agitate people and cause concern on one or both sides," he said.

"No one issue exists in a vacuum," said Clayton Dube, executive director of the US-China Institute of University of Southern California.

He told China Daily that protectionism and other economic disputes play out against a backdrop of images - confrontations in the South China Sea, commitments to nuclear non-proliferation, the treatment of individuals and ethnic groups and more.

"All these influence particular positions at particular times," said Dube, adding that the bilateral relationship in many aspects "is better then ever".

Dube said the key reason for disagreements is that the two countries are much more fully intertwined with each other and with other countries.

"Our perceived interests are not always aligned. Sometimes this is a matter of suspicion and insufficient communication. More often it's rooted in serious differences over policies and practices," Dube said.

Dube said it is ultimately in both countries' interests to expand and deepen cooperation wherever possible, but fundamental differences do exist and aren't likely to disappear anytime soon.

Freeman said despite all the difficulties, the two sides have "so far managed the necessary adjustments quite well".

"I am optimistic that this will continue to be the case. All the more so because, as the polling data shows, people on both sides recognize the importance of trying to get along with each other," Freeman said.

Zhang Yuwei and Kelly Chung Dawson contributed to this story.

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