Tags: pew | balance | power | china

Pew: Power Balance Between US and China Shifting

Thursday, 18 Jul 2013 01:31 PM

By Lisa Barron

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The people of the world have spoken: China will soon overtake the U.S. as the world's leading economic superpower, but they don’t necessarily have a positive feeling about the shift, according to a new Pew Research Center survey conducted in 39 countries.

The survey on global attitudes, the biggest Pew has conducted since 2007, found that while many countries still view the U.S. as the top economic power, it's only a matter of time before that changes.

But the U.S., the survey found, still has a better image abroad, with more nations saying they view America as a genuine partner rather than China.

That is especially true among China's closest neighbors, including the Philippines, South Korea, and Japan, all of whom are engaged in regional territorial disputes with Beijing. In Japan, for instance, just 5 percent of respondents expressed a positive view of China, compared to 93 percent who had a negative view.

But in regions where Chinese investment has soared in recent years, especially Africa and Latin America, there is widespread admiration for China's scientific and technological advances.

On the military front, both American and Chinese capabilities are a concern to other countries. The U.S. drone program was especially unpopular in the poll, with a majority of respondents in 31 countries disapproving of unmanned air strikes.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama's overall global approval ratings have slipped since 2009, according to the survey, although he remains popular in Europe, Africa, and some countries in Asia.

Notably, in the Middle East, about 30 percent or less in most countries in the region said they trusted Obama to do the "right thing" in international affairs. And most Egyptians and Pakistanis said American economic aid is having a negative impact on their countries.

As for human rights and personal freedoms, the U.S. did much better than China, although the poll was conducted from March to May before recent leaks about the National Security Agency's secret surveillance programs.

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