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53% pessimistic about future Sino-US ties under Trump

Editor: Zhang Jianfeng 丨Global Times

12-30-2016 08:38 BJT

A large majority of Chinese people view China's relations with the US as the most important bilateral ties for the country, a Global Times poll showed, although more than half of those surveyed feel pessimistic about the future ties of the pair.

The poll was conducted by the Global Times' Global Poll Center through computer-assisted telephone interviews from December 12 to 25, and 1,549 people were interviewed, aged between 15 and 50 from seven major cities in China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Changsha.

According to the results, 79.8 percent of respondents chose "diplomatic relations with the US" as the answer to the question "Which bilateral relations are most important for China." Another 37.2 percent believe China's relations with Russia are the most important, more than those (25.9 percent) who chose Japan as the most important country for Chinese diplomacy.

It is the 11th consecutive year that Sino-US relations have topped the list, according to previous Global Times polls.

Jin Canrong, associate dean of the Department of International Studies at Renmin University of China said the US still has a deep influence on China's relations with virtually all other countries and international organizations, as well as on ties between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.

For instance, the poll showed that 63 percent of respondents consider that the Sino-South Korean relationship has been more tense in 2016, and this was mainly caused by the US plan to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile defense system on the Korean Peninsula.

Taiwan and the South China Sea are the two most influential elements that affect Sino-US ties, with 41.2 percent and 39 percent respectively, followed by competition for world dominance between the two countries, with 18.6 percent of respondents.

Love-hate relationship

Love-hate relationship

With US President-elect Donald Trumpassuming office soon and the challenges faced by China, more than 53 percent of those surveyed are pessimistic about future Sino-US relations, while only 22.8 percent are optimistic. The remaining 24.8 percent are uncertain.

"There is strong uncertainty in the US president-elect's policies, and there are a lot of 'submerged rocks' to trip up relations," Jin said.

One such rock is trade friction. Diao Daming, a research fellow at the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the possibility of a trade war between the two countries has become extremely high since Trump appointed a strident critic of China, Peter Navarro, as head of the newly established National Trade Council.

Despite pessimism over bilateral ties and with 42.3 percent of respondents believing that the West aims at containing China, the US is still the most favorable country when it comes to the ideal travel destination for the Chinese, at 14.8 percent. France ranks the second with 7.2 percent. However, 21.8 percent say they don't have a preference for overseas travel.

"When we talk about Sino-US relations we are talking about the relationship between countries so the fact is our people feel that the US is making trouble for China. But when it comes to the personal level, the US for most Chinese is an ideal place for travel, study, doing business and so on," said Wang Yiwei, director of the Center for International Studies at Renmin University.

Global image

On "the most damaging to China's international image," 48.4 percent chose "corrupt officials." It has been on the decline from 65 percent in 2012, according to the poll report.

A change since 2012's poll shows that the achievements made by the ongoing anti-corruption campaign are successful and people can sense the positive change, Huang said. "A series of cases involving high-level corrupt officials and international anti-corruption cooperation that have netted criminals overseas, have won the people's support," he noted.

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