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China to rival US as world power by 2020: survey -from Reuters

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BERLIN (Reuters) - The United States will lose its position as the world's undisputed leading power over the next decade and a half, with China emerging as a formidable rival, according to a new survey from Germany's Bertelsmann Foundation.

In the survey, based on interviews of 10,250 people worldwide, 57 percent of respondents said they believed the United States would be a world power in the year 2020 compared to 55 percent who saw China in that role.

That compared to 81 percent who currently see the United States as a world power and 45 percent who believe China has already attained that status.

The survey, entitled "World Powers in the 21st Century" was conducted by the Gallup and TNS Emnid polling institutes in nine countries -- Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States -- between October and December 2005. Between 1,000 and 1,500 interviews were conducted in each of the countries.

The survey showed the Chinese themselves are confident they will gain influence on the global stage. A full 71 percent of Chinese respondents said their country would be a world power by 2020, compared to 44 percent who see China in that role today.

By comparison, 54 percent of Americans see China as a global power in 2020, up slightly from the 51 percent who already view China that way.

The survey showed that India would also rise as a world power, with 24 percent of respondents assigning it that status in 2020 against only 12 percent today.

Besides the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan were expected to decline in status, shedding 11, 6, 5 and 5 percentage points, respectively in the next 15 years.

Of the respondents within those five declining countries, only those in France went against the international trend and said their country would gain in status from now until 2020 -- with 33 percent of French seeing their country as a world power today and 35 percent in 2020.

DIFFERENCES ON MILITARY POWER, TERRORISM

The survey showed that people in the nine countries considered "economic power and potential for growth" as the most important quality for a world power.

There was disagreement on the importance of "military power" as a factor, with a third of respondents in China and the United States listing it as crucial, but only 7 percent in Germany and 16 percent in Japan viewing it as important.

There were also differences in how the countries viewed the main challenges confronting the world. In seven of the nine countries, over 50 percent of respondents listed international terrorism as the chief challenge.

But in China and Brazil less than a third of those surveyed put terrorism in that category. The Chinese listed environmental destruction and scarcity of natural resources as top threats.

In only China and Germany was a majority of the population of the opinion that peace and stability in the world could best be achieved under the leadership of the United Nations.

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