Korea ranks 9th in national power index

By Korea Herald
  • Published : Feb 26, 2014 - 20:12
  • Updated : Feb 26, 2014 - 20:12
Korea ranked ninth in terms of national power among the world’s 20 wealthiest countries this year, a Seoul-based think tank said.

According to Hansun Foundation’s 2014 Total National Power index released on Wednesday, Korea climbed up four notches from 13th five years ago thanks to significant progress in the nation’s ability to cope with changes and its defense power.

The total national power index is a measurement of a nation’s power. It shows capability of a nation to influence events and outcomes around the world, the foundation said.

The think tank has calculated a total of 14 sub-categories under two major factors ― soft and hard power-to measure the strength of the G20 member countries. The United States topped the list holding a comfortable lead in both soft and hard power, followed by China and the United Kingdom. Japan ranked eighth, down from third five years ago.

Hard power is comprised of seven subcategories ― natural resources, defense, economy, science/technology, education, environment and information. Soft power is the combination of governance, political power, diplomacy, culture, social capital and the capability to cope with social change, the foundation explained. Hansun is the first research institution in Korea that developed tools to measure national power. The research project is aimed at suggesting ideas to help Korea become an advanced country in the future.

The major factor that contributed to Korea gaining national power was its strength in dealing with future changes, the report said, adding that its ranking in the sub-category jumped from 10th to 6th this year. Meanwhile, political power and natural resources dropped to 15th and 14th, respectively.

The rise in the nation’s responding power to future changes indicates that Korea has developed a dynamic but stable environment to better nurture creativity and innovative ideas.

“Studies show that Korea has become a society that is open to creative ideas and future changes. In this respect, President Park Geun-hye’s policy direction on creative economy was proper and timely,” said Hwang Sung-don of Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. “But the government needs to develop the concept and the content of the creative economy in detail in order to get support from the people,” he said.

The report showed that Korea is still stronger in hard power relative to soft power.

Korea ranked fifth in defense power this year, down from 8th five years ago, mainly by rankings moving up in terms of defense budget.

Korea is still weak in political and social capital power, Hwang said, adding that the country needs to see improvement in politics.

“The public trust in politics is substantially lower than other countries as well as political stability. If the country sees improvements in the political sector, its national power index will get better scores,” he said.

By Cho Chung-un (