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I think the following examples have slightly different meanings:

Economic problems are confronting China.

China is confronting economic problems.

China is confronted with economic problems.

Do they sound correct and natural? Help me clarify their distinctions.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

These are all correct and natural.

There are ambiguities. 'Confront' can mean 'to take active steps to acknowledge something and do something about it', or it can mean 'to force (someone/something) to acknowledge something'.

The first meaning is not possible for sentences #1 and #3; the second interpretation is necessary. Sentence #2 is ambiguous between the two meanings.

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