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Americans' Views of China

12:35 PM, Jan 13, 2011 • By DANIEL HALPER
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Leading up to President Obama's meeting next week with his Chinese counterpart, Pew Reserach has released a poll that details Americans' views of China:

As President Obama prepares to host Chinese President Hu Jintao next week, Americans increasingly see Asia as the region of the world that is most important to the United States. Nearly half (47%) say Asia is most important, compared with just 37% who say Europe, home to many of America’s closest traditional allies.

Views on this issue have changed considerably over the last decade. In an early September 2001 poll, 44% said our political, economic and military ties to Europe were more important, while 34% prioritized our ties to Asia. Similarly, in polls conducted in 1993 and 1997 about half felt Europe was the region most important to American national interests, while roughly three-in-ten said Asia.

This shift reflects changing perceptions about the economic balance of power in the world. Almost half (47%) of Americans say China is the world’s leading economic power, while just 31% name the U.S. Three years ago – prior to the global economic crisis – only 30% characterized China as the global economic leader, compared with 41% for the U.S.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted January 5-9 among 1,503 adults finds that by two-to-one (60% to 27%) Americans see China’s economic strength as a greater threat than its military strength. And as Obama goes into talks with the Chinese president, a 53% majority say it is very important for the U.S. to get tougher with China on trade and economic issues.

Be sure to read Irwin Stelzer on "Our Broken China Policy" in this week's issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD.

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