With Xi Jinping assuming leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, China and the United States have both now chosen their leaders for the near future. They both face considerable challenges, not the least of which is the growing mistrust between the people of the two superpowers.
According to a Pew survey, although two-thirds of Americans think relations between their country and China are good, a similar number believe China can't be trusted. Furthermore, while a year ago more Americans thought the U.S. should build stronger relations with China rather than "get tough," that has now reversed.
Chinese attitudes toward the U.S. are also hardening. In the last two years, the number of Chinese who view the U.S. favourably has dropped from a majority (58 per cent) to a minority (43 per cent), while those who have confidence in President Obama's international policies has dropped by similar numbers.
Despite the mistrust, the Chinese appreciate the American way of doing business, greatly admire U.S. science and technology and approve of American ideas about democracy. Clearly, there is a solid basis for improving the relations between the two nations. Let us hope their newly confirmed leaders take advantage. Harmony between the two would be good for them, and good for the rest of us.