A significant majority of Americans are skeptical that Chinese President Xi Jinping will “do the right thing regarding world affairs,” according to a poll released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center.
Despite 83% of respondents expressing a negative view toward China, the survey of 3,500 US adults found that more than 50% were optimistic the two countries can work together on trade and economic policy.
What about China most concerns Americans?
Among concerns that participants of the poll expressed toward China was the country's partnership with Russia. The survey was conducted March 20-23, the same week Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Moscow to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Jinping said during the visit that he is expecting a new impetus to Russo-Chinese relations and that China is ready to defend a world order based on international law alongside Russia, Russian state-owned news agency TASS reported.
Another rising concern cited was tensions between China and Taiwan.
Even prior to Taiwan’s President Tsai-Ing Wen's visit to the US, 47% described them as a very serious problem – a 19-point increase from the share who said the same two years ago.
China’s policies on human rights were also noted as a major concern for roughly 50% of Americans.
Is there any optimism?
Pew found two areas in which respondents expressed more optimistic views.
Just over half said the two countries could cooperate on trade and economic policy, the report said. It did not go into detail about policies.
The only other category in which over 50% of respondents said both countries could collaborate was student exchange programs, the poll found.
Overall, the Pew poll found that the number of Americans who describe China as an enemy of the US, rather than as a competitor or a partner, has gone up about 13 points since last year and is now around four-in-ten Americans. Still, a portion of US adults remain unaware. Thirteen percent of respondents said they have never heard of Xi — a percentage that climbed to 27% among those polled ages 18 to 29.