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Majority of Americans finger China as biggest threat to US in poll: 71% fear military conflict

A majority of Americans say China – and not Vladimir Putin‘s Russia – poses the biggest threat to the nation, with more than 70 percent saying they fear a military conflict with the Communist country, in a shocking new poll.

China has surpassed Russia, North Korea and Afghanistan as the biggest possible threat to America, the Reagan National Defense Survey found. 

‘For the first time in our survey, a majority of the American people identify a single country as the greatest threat facing the United States: China,’ the right-leaning institute reported. 

However, those polled who identified as Democrats agreed with their Republican counterparts, with 55 percent of Democrats joining 64 percent of Republicans in saying China does pose the biggest threat.

The numbers were even more stark when asked if they foresee a potential military conflict with China with 71 percent saying yes. Of those, 79 percent of Republicans and 66 percent of Democrats said their could be a war between two of the world’s superpowers.  

It’s the first time in the survey’s history that all political parties agree on one country as the most threatening: China. Over 50 per cent of Americans view China was the biggest threat, with most fearing war with the communist country 

Tens of thousands of Uyghurs have been thrown into forced reeducation camps, forcibly sterilized and had their families broken up in a Chinese crackdown on the minority

Tens of thousands of Uyghurs have been thrown into forced reeducation camps, forcibly sterilized and had their families broken up in a Chinese crackdown on the minority 

Riot police detain a man as they clear protesters taking part in a rally against a new national security law in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020, on the 23rd anniversary of the city's handover from Britain to China

Riot police detain a man as they clear protesters taking part in a rally against a new national security law in Hong Kong on July 1, 2020, on the 23rd anniversary of the city’s handover from Britain to China

The overall threat from China has doubled from three years ago, according to the survey. Only 21 percent of Americans polled in 2018 said they thought of the Asian country as the biggest threat.

Meanwhile, the threat feared from Russia in the latest poll fell to 14 percent, followed by North Korea at 12 percent, Afghanistan at 5 percent and Iran at 4 percent.  

Thirty-seven per cent of Americans also believe that the US needs to focus military attention on East Asia, shifting focus from the Middle East, which was at the same percentage in 2018 and has since dropped by 20 percent. 

A military conflict with China could be sparked by its continued menacing of strategically important Taiwan. China has moved in more than 100 warplanes into the island’s airspace, however, those polled may not be ready to go to war.

Last month, Taiwan reported 148 Chinese air force planes had flown over its air defense zone over a four day period beginning on the same day China marked a key patriotic holiday, National Day.   

In the poll, 71 percent of Americans recognized Taiwan as an ‘independent country’.

However, just 50 percent supported a US military response to an invasion.  

Chinese planes have been flying in Taiwan's airspace and it has since moved in more than 100 planes toward Taiwan as the threat against invasion heightens

Chinese planes have been flying in Taiwan’s airspace and it has since moved in more than 100 planes toward Taiwan as the threat against invasion heightens 

Last month Taiwan reported 148 Chinese air force planes had flown over its air defense zone (pictured) over a four day period beginning on the same day China marked a key patriotic holiday, National Day

Last month Taiwan reported 148 Chinese air force planes had flown over its air defense zone (pictured) over a four day period beginning on the same day China marked a key patriotic holiday, National Day

The Chinese military is now at or near the capability to invade Taiwan and could launch 25,000 troops into Taiwan

The Chinese military is now at or near the capability to invade Taiwan and could launch 25,000 troops into Taiwan 

Police used guns and water cannons against protesters in the streets of Hong Kong as they riot against China's national security plans. China claimed it was restoring order to city

Police used guns and water cannons against protesters in the streets of Hong Kong as they riot against China’s national security plans. China claimed it was restoring order to city 

China has not ruled out taking the country by force. 

China considers Taiwan to be nothing more than an unruly extension of its mainland territory. The US recognized the island democracy’s autonomy until 1979, but the two nations still enjoy a ‘robust unofficial relationship.’ 

The Chinese government has also faced backlash over humanitarian issues after crushing the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong. 

China dismissed the criticism and claims it is merely restoring order to the city and instituting national security protections found in other countries. It has denounced US sanctions on Hong Kong officials as interference in its domestic affairs. 

China is accused of committing genocide against Uyghurs, which Beijing denies. 

Tens of thousands of Uyghurs have been thrown into forced reeducation camps, forcibly sterilized and had their families broken up in a Chinese crackdown on the minority 

Chinese policemen push Uighur women who are protesting in a street in July

Chinese policemen push Uighur women who are protesting in a street in July

A woman holds a sign calling to stop Uyghur Genocide, which the Chinese has been accused of

A woman holds a sign calling to stop Uyghur Genocide, which the Chinese has been accused of 

Other issues, such as the coronavirus – which many Americans believe was developed by scientists in a Wuhan lab – are also among the reasons China is viewed as a threat. 

Nearly 50 percent say they ‘very likely’ believe this theory, and 72 percent say they ‘likely’ believe it.    

Americans’ confidence in President Joe Biden is dwindling as many say they are unsure of the president’s ability to rescue the economy in the aftermath of the pandemic. 

Americans are particularly concerned by rising inflation leading to increased prices on goods and services, which the administration in the past has dismissed as a cyclical rise despite the higher-than-normal increase. 

Inflation is being affected by several factors like the pandemic, labor shortages and the supply chain bottlenecks – specifically at the Port of Los Angeles, where more than half of shipping containers coming to the US arrive.


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