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Two-thirds in US want good ties with China

By Zhao Huanxin in Washington | China Daily Global | Updated: 2019-09-11 07:39

Survey also shows a vast majority of respondents oppose arms sale to Taiwan

Two in three US citizens prefer friendly cooperation and engagement with China, and a vast majority of the US public favors trade with the world's second-largest economy, according to the 2019 Chicago Council Survey, which was released on Monday.

The survey was conducted during June 7 to June 20 this year among a representative national sample of 2,059 adults in the United States.

The survey, a detailed look into US citizens' views on the vital issues the US faces, including the value of trade and military alliances and the threats from rivals, also found that majorities across political affiliations oppose selling arms to Taiwan.

"While a growing number of Washington insiders perceive China as a grave military and economic threat requiring confrontation, the American public prefers cooperation," it said.

As has been the case since the council first asked the question in 2006, two-thirds of US citizens, or 68 percent, say they prefer to undertake friendly cooperation and engagement with China, rather than working to limit the growth of China's power.

This is also the case regardless of party affiliation, with 74 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of independents, and 58 percent of Republicans saying they prefer a policy of friendly cooperation and engagement with China, the survey said.

It found that people are more likely to see trade as win-win rather than zero-sum.

More than in any previous Chicago Council Survey, the public says that international trade is good for the US economy (87 percent) and companies (83 percent), according to the survey.

"These results are a stark change from 2016, when just 59 percent said that international trade was good for the US economy," it said.

Furthermore, the survey found that more respondents now (63 percent) than when last asked in 2017 (51 percent) believe that trade deals benefit both the US and its trading partners. This perception differed from the view of many in Washington who believe that the US has been "taken advantage of" by its trading partners.

Nearly three-quarters of the respondents said they favor engaging in trade with China, just 2 percentage points shy of those who say they favor trade with South Korea, according to the survey.

Only 30 percent of Democrats support placing tariffs on products imported from China, far fewer than the Republicans, who follow the lead of US President Donald Trump.

The two countries have slapped tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of each other's imports since early 2018, with the latest round of duties taking effect on Sept 1.

The two sides have agreed to resume high-level trade talks in Washington early next month, after 12 rounds of such meetings failed to reach an agreement acceptable to both countries.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Monday that the US and China have a "conceptual" agreement on enforcement concerns, emphasizing positive progress already made in trade talks, CNBC reported.

The Chicago survey also found that majorities across political affiliations support negotiating arms-control agreements between China and the US and cooperating on international development-assistance projects, and that US citizens across partisan lines oppose selling arms to Taiwan.

Late last month, the US State Department approved a potential $8 billion arms package, including F-16 fighter jets, to Taiwan, according to a statement by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency.

A spokesman for China's Ministry of National Defense said the Chinese military strongly opposes the US arms sale, calling the action a "complete mistake" and "very dangerous".

(China Daily Global 09/11/2019 page6)

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