The USA Is The Number One Thing China Fears More Than ISIS

REUTERS/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chris Cavagnaro/U.S. Navy/Handout via Reuters

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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The world is a dangerous place, but in the eyes of the Chinese people, the number one threat to peace is the U.S.

Almost half of the Chinese population sees U.S. power and influence as a continuous threat to China, reports the Pew Research Center.

Up six percent from 2013, a full 45 percent of Chinese people believe that the U.S. presents serious challenges for China. The U.S. is viewed by those polled as a greater threat than global economic instability, climate change, tensions with Russia, cyberwarfare, the Islamic State (ISIS), and throngs of refugees fleeing the Middle East.

Only 15 percent of Chinese people regard ISIS as a major threat.

Roughly 77 percent of the Chinese populace believes that their way of life needs to be protected from foreign influence.

China regards the Obama administration’s pivot to Asia as an act of containment, and 52 percent of the population believe that the U.S. is trying to prevent China from becoming powerful.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), President Barack Obama’s signature trade deal, is being sold as a counterweight to China and is widely perceived as an attempt to curtail China’s growing economic might.

“The world has changed. The rules are changing with it. The United States, not countries like China, should write them. Let’s seize this opportunity, pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership and make sure America isn’t holding the bag, but holding the pen,” Obama explained earlier this year in a Washington Post op-ed.

Forty percent of the Chinese population frets about American economic strength.

China also fears that the U.S. is encircling it militarily. The U.S. intends to have 60 percent of its military forces operating in the Asia Pacific region by the year 2020. Six out of every 10 Chinese people are worried about America’s military strength.

In the South China Sea, U.S. freedom of navigation operations weaken China’s claims to the region. The U.S. has also put more weight behind the arbitration ruling passed down by Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

In the East China Sea, the Obama administration has continued to uphold its position that the disputed Senkaku and Diaoyu Islands, territories administered by Japan but claimed by China, are protected under the U.S.-Japanese security agreement.

On the Korean peninsula, the U.S. is planning to install a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense shield in South Korea. China is concerned that the system’s associated X-band radar will pose threats to China’s national security.

The U.S. also puts significant pressure on the Chinese government for its rampant human rights violations, often embarrassing China on the world stage.

Seventy-five percent of Chinese people see their country as much more important now than it was a decade ago, but the U.S. is regarded as a major challenge to Chinese ascendancy.

While the U.S. is regarded as the primary threat to China, only 44 percent of the population holds an unfavorable view of the U.S.

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