Among Americans, the well-regarded Pew researchers found that Republicans are more concerned than Democrats about China’s rise. This issue was barely mentioned in the first presidential debate between US President Barack Obama, the Democrat, and Mitt Romney, the Republican, but is certain to come up later.
Pew showed that six in 10 Republicans believe China’s emergence as a world power poses a major threat to the US, compared with 48 percent of Democrats. Moreover, far more Republicans than Democrats see the US trade deficit with China, the loss of US jobs to China and the large American debt held by China as serious problems.
Republicans are also far more likely to favor the US taking a tough stand with China on economic and trade issues, while Democrats are more likely to see building strong relations with China as a top priority.
The Pew researchers also said that most American experts on issues with China would support the use of US military force to defend Taiwan if China employed force against it — without Taiwan having made a declaration of independence.
However, an attack from China that followed Taiwan’s unilateral declaration of independence would find half or more of those experts opposing the use of US military power to defend Taiwan.
Richard Halloran is a commentator in Hawaii.