South Korea slid in peace rankings this year: report

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South Korea slid in peace rankings this year: report




As a result of continued military and diplomatic friction with two of its neighbors, South Korea’s World Peace Index slipped five places from 2013, coming in at 47th place among 143 countries this year.

According to a 2014 report by the World Peace Forum entitled “Assessing the State of Peace in the Nations of the World,” North Korea’s ranking jumped from 117 last year to 110 in 2014.

That is its highest rank since the Seoul-based World Peace Forum began to release the reports in 2001.

The list was topped by northern European nations with Germany coming in first, followed by Switzerland, the Netherlands, Denmark and Iceland. Canada was the only non-European country in the top 10, coming in at sixth.

Japan ranked highest among Asian countries, coming in at 19, up five notches from last year.

Of Korea’s key allies, the United States came in at 74, China at 105 and Russia at 109.

The forum analyzes the countries’ political, military and diplomatic, and socio-economic trends to come up with the peace index.

South Korea’s drop in rankings came after increased military and diplomatic tensions with North Korea and Japan.

“Despite the fact that presidential election was peacefully carried out in the end of 2012,” the report said, “conflicts between the political parties after the election, rising military tension between North Korea and South Korea, and worsening of diplomatic relations with Japan resulted in a generally low level of peace.”

Pyongyang’s overall ranking rose because the Kim Jong-un regime appears to have gathered relative political stability since King Jong-il passed away suddenly in 2012, the report said.

South Korea ranked 129th in the military and diplomatic arena this year, down from 115 in 2013. North Korea ranked 137th, down from 133rd last year.

The report said the drop in the military peace ranking in the two countries came mainly because of “North Korea’s continuous ballistic missile launches” and the crash of suspected North Korean unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, earlier this year.

“The inter-Korean relations and tensions are very likely to continue for the time being as the North Korean regime under the inexperienced Kim Jong-un’s leadership maintains a confrontational attitude to consolidate its power and political system at the transition stage,” according to the report.

The report said that the United States, despite its leadership in the world, has not been able to recover stability in the military-diplomatic dimension “due to heavy causalities continuously occurred in the course of the war on terrorism.”

The World Peace Forum, established in 2000, publishes the World Peace Index annually.

The report added that overall peace “has sharply dropped” especially in the five years since 2010, with a score of 69.6 points, down 0.4 points from last year.

BY SARAH KIM sarahkim@joongang.co.kr

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