Trade, tourism, and other exchanges are at record levels, but American and Chinese suspicions of each other are growing. A just released poll found only 39 percent of Chinese described the U.S.-China relationship as one of cooperation, while only two years ago two out of three Chinese viewed the relationship positively.
A bi-national commission led by the University of Southern California and Peking University held its second meeting in Beijing from Sept. 20-21 to examine this distrust and how to address it.
An early finding of the commission is that young people in the two countries hold more positive views of each other's country and that new programs targeting youth and utilizing new technologies have the greatest likelihood of fostering deeper understanding and promoting greater trust.
Chaired by USC Annenberg Dean Ernest J. Wilson III and Peking University School of International Studies Dean Wang Jisi, the U.S.-China Bi-National Commission on Enhanced Relations and Trust Building is comprised of senior experts from both countries with extensive experience in politics, diplomacy, economics, trade and communications.
The commission first met in Washington, D.C. in June to discuss specific and comprehensive solutions to improve strategic trust between the two nations. During both meetings in Washington and Beijing, the Commission held high-level conversations with government, private sector and non-government organization leaders. It found that deliberate and sustained efforts at trust-building will enhance the capacity of the two nations to cooperate more fully and manage differences more effectively. The commission is developing a balanced, non-traditional approach with a focus on the Next Generation people, platforms and programs.
In early 2013, the commission will publish its report which includes the first ever comprehensive survey of U.S.-China trust-building activities, incorporating a wealth of material from government dialogues, public diplomacy programs, exchanges, tourism, cultural, media and corporate activities, all of which form the basis of engagement between the two counties. The report also draws upon a wide variety of American and Chinese public opinion surveys.