North Korea climbed one notch to rank 149th in an annual global peace index this year, but it remains one of the least peaceful countries in the world, a Sydney-based think tank report showed Thursday, Yonhap reports.
The North was the only Asia-Pacific country in the bottom 25 among 163 countries, according to the Global Peace Index 2019 released by the Institute for Economics and Peace.
The report evaluated the countries' peacefulness using 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators in three key domains -- the level of societal safety and security; the extent of ongoing domestic and international conflict; and the degree of militarization, it said.
North Korea's score for nuclear and heavy weapons capabilities remains at five -- the lowest score possible -- despite more than a year of denuclearization negotiations with South Korea and the U.S.," the report said. "The negotiations have proceeded in fits and starts, but with little tangible progress at the time of writing."
South Korea slipped nine places to rank 55th.
Iceland topped the list, a position it has held since 2008, followed by New Zealand, Portugal, Austria and Denmark.
Afghanistan was the least peaceful country in the world this year, replacing Syria which is now the second-least peaceful nation, it said.
The U.S. ranked 128th and China came in 110th.
The average country score improved slightly from last year, with 86 countries improving and 76 recording deterioration, the report showed.
Source: Kazinform News Agency
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