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How Do Americans, Chinese See the Other?


President Barack Obama speaks as he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, March 31, 2016. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Barack Obama speaks as he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, March 31, 2016. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)


U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping met this week over international security issues.

While they report slow progress over major disagreements, what do average citizens in those countries think about each other?

A study by the Pew Research Center offers some answers.

Only 38 percent of Americans said they have a positive view of China, according to a 2015 Pew survey.

And in China, only 44 percent of people surveyed gave the United States a positive rating.

Americans expressed concern about the large amount of U.S. debt held by China and the loss of jobs to China. Last year, the U.S. Treasury Department said China held $1.2 trillion in U.S. government debts.

People polled in China said they believe the United States is trying to prevent China from becoming as powerful as the U.S.

The views reflect some of the tensions between the nations’ leaders.

The United States has opposed China’s construction of artificial islands and military facilities along the disputed South China Sea. And there have been disagreements over how to respond to recent North Korean nuclear and missile tests.

A joint statement from U.S. and China after Thursday’s Obama-Xi meeting said both countries agreed to work together on nuclear security. The Obama administration said China has agreed to sanctions to protest recent North Korean nuclear tests.

But Xi expressed opposition to a new missile defense system for South Korea, according to Chinese media reports. Such a system is being considered by U.S. and South Korean leaders to protect South Korea from a North Korean attack.

At the start of his meeting with Xi, Obama said, “Of great importance to both of us is North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons, which threatens the security and stability of the region.”

Xi said China and the United States “have a responsibility to work together.”

As for issues dividing the two nations, Xi said both sides could “seek active solutions through dialogue and consultation.”

The two leaders met during a 53-nation conference on nuclear security in Washington, D.C.

I'm Bruce Alpert.

Bruce Alpert reported on this story for VOA Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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Words in this Story

survey – n. an activity in which many people are asked questions in order to gather information about what most people do or think about something

positive adj. good of useful

pollv. an activity in which several or many people are asked a question or a series of questions in order to get information about what most people think about something

reflect v. to make known your opinion

artificialadj. not natural or real

facilityn. a building or large piece of equipment built for a specific purpose

pursuit - n. seeking to get or do something

stabilityn. the quality or state of something that is not easily changed or likely to change

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