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Most Americans support strong relations with China: poll

(Xinhua)

15:39, September 19, 2012

WASHINGTON, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Most Americans support the U.S. government to build a strong relationship with China, as they consider China as a competitor rather than an enemy, finds a poll released on Tuesday.

Sixty-five percent of Americans view the relations between the two powers as generally good, compared with 29 percent who think otherwise. Meanwhile, 55 percent of Americans advocate building a strong relationship with China, according to the poll conducted by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project on April 30-May 13 among 1,004 American adults.

The poll also finds that most Americans remain vigilant about China's fast rise as a world power. Sixty-six percent of Americans regard China as a competitor, compared with 16 percent who see China as a partner, and 15 percent who see it as an enemy. Fifty-two percent of Americans consider China's rise as a major threat, compared with 35 percent who say it is a minor threat, and 9 percent who say it is not a threat at all.

However, compared with other international threats, China's ascent doesn't not rank among the list of American public's top concerns, which is topped by Iran's nuclear program and Islamic extremist groups (70 percent), followed by the nuclear issue of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) (69 percent), international financial instability (65 percent), and drug-related violence in Mexico (61 percent).

Most Americans express far more concern about China's economic strength than about its military strength. Fifty-nine percent of Americans say they are concerned about China's economic strength, compared with 28 percent who are concerned about China's military strength, and 7 percent who are concerned about both.

Among the economic issues with China, most Americans list as a very serious problem the large amount of American debt held by China (78 percent), followed by the loss of jobs to China (71 percent), and trade deficit with China (61 percent), according to the poll.

The American public is divided on President Barack Obama's policy toward China, as 45 percent say he is not tough enough, 39 percent say he is about right, and 2 percent say he is too tough, the poll finds. More Republicans (65 percent) than Democrats (35 percent) tend to say that Obama is not tough enough toward China.

Reflecting the lack of trust between the two countries despite the increased trade and exchanges of personnel, the poll finds that only 26 percent of Americans say the U.S. can trust China.

The poll was released at a time when both campaigns of President Obama, who is seeking reelection, and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney compete to harden their China-bashing rhetoric in order to attract more votes, especially from the struggling manufacturing industry in crucial swing states.

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