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Most Americans see benefits of close U.S.-China ties: poll

(Xinhua)

08:56, April 18, 2012

WASHINGTON, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Most Americans believe that a close U.S.-China relationship is a good thing for the United States, while lacking of trust is a major barrier for the two countries to further bilateral ties, according to a poll released Tuesday.

The Gallup-China Daily USA study shows that 81 percent of American adults and 88 percent of U.S. opinion leaders say a close U.S.-China relationship is good for the U.S., compared with 16 percent and 9 percent respectively, with the opposite view.

The U.S. public's perceptions about the development of U.S.- China relations over the past decade are varied, the poll finds. Thirty-five percent of American adults and 43 percent of U.S. opinion leaders believe that the U.S.-China ties have improved in the past decade, compared to 28 percent and 22 percent, respectively, who have the opposite view. About one-third of American adults and opinion leaders believe that the U.S.-China relations have stayed the same, the poll finds.

While most Americans say strong relations between China and the U.S. are important, they also perceive major barriers to achieving this, with lack of trust topping the list.

The poll finds that 76 percent of American adults and 78 percent of U.S. opinion leaders perceive that the major barrier to strong U.S.-China relations is a lack of trust between the two countries.

Meanwhile, 66 percent of American adults and 69 percent of U.S. opinion leaders think that the increasing demand for natural resources is a major barrier to boosting U.S.-China relations, compared with 59 percent and 62 percent respectively, who believe that different political systems hinder the efforts to improve U.S. -China relations.

Another perceived barrier to strong U.S.-China relations could be Americans' perceptions of China as a military threat. About half of the American public (51 percent) and 60 percent of U.S. opinion leaders say China's growing military is a threat to U.S. national security. Eighteen percent of U.S. adults and 17 percent of opinion leaders disagree.

On the controversial issue of the U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, 48 percent of American adults say the U.S. economic situation was a major factor in the U.S. government's decision to sell weapons to Taiwan. U.S. opinion leaders were less likely, at 39 percent, to say economics was a major factor in this decision.

The poll was conducted from Nov. 30 to Dec. 18, 2011, through telephone interviews with 2,007 American adults, aged 18 and older. It has an error margin of about 3 percent.

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