Most back Obama's foreign policy in US survey

Updated: 2012-09-21 11:07

By Chen Weihua in New York (China Daily)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

With the US presidential election less than 50 days away, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have lobbed accusations at each other on many fronts, including jabs over how they approach China.

Romney has accused Obama for not being tough against China's "cheating" trade practices. Romney's running mate Paul Ryan said China treats Obama like a "doormat". Obama, meanwhile, has attacked Romney as a pioneer of outsourcing jobs to China. During his election campaign in Ohio on Monday, Obama announced that he had filed a WTO case against China's subsidies on auto parts exports.

A survey released this week by the Pew Center, based in Washington, shows that nearly nine of 10 government officials and at least six out of 10 members of the news media, academia, and the business sector approve of Obama's foreign policy.

But Obama receives low marks among retired military officers, with 56 percent disapproving of Obama's performance. Four expert groups endorse the administration's handling of China, including 87 percent of government officials, 72 percent of scholars, 64 percent of business and trade leaders and 78 percent of the news media.

The survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project, is part of the broader US-China Perceptions Project that Pew has conducted in cooperation with think tanks in China and the US. It surveyed 1,004 adults in the general public and 305 foreign affairs experts.

While most presidential candidates routinely talk negatively about China, the survey finds that nearly two-thirds say relations between the two countries is good and most regard China a competitor (66 percent of the general public and 74-81 percent of the four expert groups) rather than an enemy (15 percent of the general public and less than 3 percent of any expert group).

On the widespread distrust between the two nations, the survey finds that a majority say the US cannot trust China and China does not consider the interests of other countries when making foreign-policy decisions. China scores lower than Russia in trust among the general public but higher among the expert groups.

Young people are far more likely than older respondents to see China as trustworthy with 43 percent of those younger than 30 say the US can trust China, compared with only 20 percent among people above the age of 65.

Americans are concerned about China's growing economic clout. About half of the general public says that China's emergence as a world power poses a major threat to the US.

Unlike the general public, US foreign affairs experts are far less concerned about China's rising power. Except for retired military officers, only about 30 percent consider China's emergence as a world power to be a major threat.

Across the five respondent groups, economy is most frequently regarded as the best area for cooperation between the US and China. Many believe it is in both countries' interests to collaborate to promote global economic stability.

As for the two major US political parties, the survey finds that Republicans are much more concerned than Democrats about the impact of China's rise.

On personal characteristics associated with Chinese people, 93 percent of the general public describes Chinese as hardworking, 89 percent say competitive, 73 percent say inventive, 57 percent say modern and 49 percent say sophisticated. Sixty-three percent say Chinese people are nationalistic.

Negative traits score much lower: 43 percent in aggressiveness, 40 percent for greed, 36 percent for arrogance, 31 percent for selfishness, 28 percent for rudeness and 24 percent for violence.