US most impt, least lik­able: poll

Trade fric­tions the most shock­ing and hurt­ful event in 2018: an­a­lyst

Global Times - Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Liu Xin and Bai Yunyi

Though China-US re­la­tions are re­garded as the most im­por­tant bi­lat­eral ties for China, the US was not even a front-run­ner, or to be more ac­cu­rate, a strag­gler when it comes to Chi­nese peo­ple’s pick of fa­vorite coun­try or the coun­try they want to visit most.

Ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey con­ducted by the Global Times’ Poll Cen­ter in De­cem­ber, the US ranked 15th in the list of coun­tries Chi­nese peo­ple like the best.

Only 3.8 per­cent of the sur­veyed said the US would be the coun­try they most want to visit, a 10.6 per­cent drop com­pared to last year, said a re­port on the sur­vey of how Chi­nese peo­ple view the world.

The re­port was based on 1,000 valid ques­tion­naires re­ceived from res­i­dents of 10 Chi­nese cities.

When asked which for­eign re­la­tions have the big­gest in­flu­ence on China, 63.5 per­cent of the re­spon­dents picked China-US re­la­tions, the high­est per­cent­age among all China-for­eign re­la­tions.

China-Rus­sia re­la­tions ranked sec­ond at 37.6 per­cent, while China-EU re­la­tions and China-Ja­pan re­la­tions

were picked by 21.7 per­cent and 12.7 per­cent of re­spon­dents re­spec­tively.

This is the 13th con­sec­u­tive year that Chi­naUS re­la­tions were ranked the most im­por­tant bi­lat­eral re­la­tions for China by Chi­nese re­spon­dents in the “Chi­nese see the world” sur­vey. How­ever, this year’s num­ber is the low­est in his­tory, down 13 per­cent­age points from 2017.

In con­trast, the im­por­tance of China-EU re­la­tions, in the eyes of the re­spon­dents, reached the high­est level since 2010 this year.

Ni Feng, deputy di­rec­tor of the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences’ In­sti­tute of Amer­i­can Stud­ies, told the Global Times that th­ese sta­tis­tics show that most Chi­nese still rec­og­nize the im­por­tance of China-US re­la­tions, and that the in­flu­ence of the US’ China pol­icy hasn’t changed.

The Chi­nese pub­lic’s ex­pec­ta­tions of the US have de­clined, and they are look­ing in other direc­tions to avoid risks of dis­putes with the US, Ni said, not­ing that “the rise of the im­por­tance of China-EU re­la­tions in the sur­vey is a nat­u­ral re­flec­tion of this men­tal­ity.”

In re­sponse to a ques­tion about changes of bi­lat­eral ties in 2018, 68.9 per­cent of the re­spon­dents believe China-US ties be­came strained, while 25.7 per­cent think there were more ten­sions in China-Ja­pan ties. Nearly half of all re­spon­dents ex­pected more strained Chi­naUS ties in 2019.

Among the top five in­ter­na­tional events that im­pressed the re­spon­dents most in 2018, the US was in­volved with two – the China-US trade fric­tion and the meet­ing be­tween Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Nearly 60 per­cent of the re­spon­dents voted for the trade fric­tion.

Beauty or the beast

Wang Yi­wei, a pro­fes­sor from the School of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions of Ren­min Uni­ver­sity of China, told the Global Times that the trade fric­tion be­tween China and the US was un­doubt­edly “the most shock­ing and hurt­ful” event in 2018.

Wang said that to many Chi­nese elites, the US is like a com­bi­na­tion of “beauty and beast” – charm­ing enough to at­tract fol­low­ers, but with re­bar­ba­tive and ar­bi­trary diplo­matic poli­cies. And now the beauty seems gone for­ever, leav­ing only the beast, he said.

“China also needs to ad­just its poli­cies to­ward the US and to­ward other re­gions in the world,” Wang said.

Asked what they think of the in­ter­na­tional po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment China faced in 2018 and if they think it posed a threat or an op­por­tu­nity to China, over 80 per­cent of the in­ter­vie­wees said they think the West has the in­ten­tion or has al­ready taken steps to con­tain China.

Among the re­spon­dents, 45 per­cent think the West has taken ob­vi­ous steps to con­tain China, up 8.2 per­cent­age points from the re­sults in 2017. Mean­while, 36.7 per­cent think the West “has the in­ten­tion to con­tain China but hasn’t taken ob­vi­ous steps,” 4.8 per­cent­age points lower than in 2017.

Although more Chi­nese have felt grad­u­ally ob­vi­ous con­tain­ment prac­tices from the West, nearly 90 per­cent of re­spon­dents held a pos­i­tive view to­ward the fu­ture.

Zhang Yiwu, a pro­fes­sor from Pek­ing Uni­ver­sity, told the Global Times that every Chi­nese can feel the change of the com­pli­cated in­ter­na­tional en­vi­ron­ment, but they have lost no con­fi­dence.

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