LOS ANGELES, April 22 -- American and Chinese economies and societies have never been as closely joined as they are today, but strengthening trust between the two countries is essential if they are to tackle the big problems that confront them, said a report released here Tuesday.
The report entitled "Building U.S.-China Trust: Through Next Generation People, Platforms & Programs" is a joint project by the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California and the School of International Studies of Peking University.
Although economies and societies between the two countries have never been as closely joined as they are today, "major differences between the two countries dominate the headlines and polls show that people in the two countries have less respect for and trust in the other country," said the report.
"Moving forward on tough issues such as cyber security, market access, and regional disputes requires building a much stronger foundation of mutual understanding that we have been able to achieve," it said.
The document listed as important sources for U.S.-China distrust the need to adapt to changes associated with China' s rapid economic rise, the different histories, values, and political systems of the U.S. and China, inadequate open and sincere communication, and the temptation to score domestic political points in ways that negatively affect perceptions in and of the other country.
There is "much energy and attention focused on official Washington-Beijing based talks and too little financial support for and focus on people-to-people engagement," it said.
The report recommends that both countries encourage and support "Next Generation Public Diplomacy" to strengthen their ties.
Based on the findings that majorities of Americans and Chinese see the other country in a negative light while, half of those under age 30 have a favorable impression of the other country, it proposed encouraging and funding young students to go to the other country to study as one effective way.
The report suggests that leaders and groups from all sectors should sponsor task-oriented exchanges and collaborations, setting realistic goals, and meeting them.
"We are confident that involving more people in substantive exchanges and publicizing both the process and the outcomes of such collaborations will greatly enhance understanding and increase trust," it said.
Looking forward to the long term dividends of such work, the report urged the two sides to "make the good work already underway more widely known", and most importantly, to "start today."