Americans have an increasingly positive view of China, a new Pew Research Center poll found.
And ahead of the first face-to-face meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on April 6, China's poll numbers are better than those for the U.S. commander in chief, Newsweek reported.
The Pew poll, conducted from Feb. 16 to March 15, found that 44 percent of respondents held a favorable view of China, up from 37 percent in 2016.
Pew suggests that China's increased popularity may be due to growing optimism about the U.S. economy. While in 2012 61 percent of respondents were seriously concerned about Washington's trade deficit with Beijing, that figure has now dropped to 44 percent.
A recent poll put Trump's popularity at 34 percent, with others showing it is below 40 percent.
Trump also fairs worse than China when it comes to disapproval levels. While 47 percent held an unfavorable opinion of China, according to the Pew survey, 56 percent felt the same way about Trump, a poll by Investor's Business Daily/TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence found.
Trump comes out on top when compared with Xi. Only 31 percent of Americans trust the Chinese leader to do the right thing in world affairs, compared to 60 percent who have little or no confidence that he will.
Trump will meet with Xi at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. During the 2016 election campaign, Trump criticized Beijing for allegedly carrying out unfair trade practices. He once denounced China for "raping" the U.S. economically, Fox News reported.
Policy experts will be watching with interest.
"This meeting will set the tone in looking at the strategic framework between the U.S. and China for the next few years," said Robert Daly, director of the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States at the Woodrow Wilson Center. "China wants to know what President Trump's framework toward Beijing will be and if he is a man they can work with."
Trump predicted earlier on Twitter his meeting with Xi would be "very difficult."
On March 31, Trump issued two executive orders focused on reducing the trade deficit with China, which is currently $347 billion. This is the largest trade deficit the United States has with any country.
The Chinese government sought to avoid conflicts ahead of the meeting.
"China will continue to work with the United States to think creatively and keeping pushing for greater balance in China-U.S. trade," said Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang.