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South Korea

Ranked 7 of 26 for comprehensive power, with an overall score of 30.0 out of 100.

Lost 1.6 points (−5% change) in overall score in 2021.


South Korea is a middle power in Asia.

Its overall score declined by 1.6 points compared to 2020. Though its overall ranking remains unchanged from last year, South Korea was one of eighteen countries in the region to trend downward in its overall score in 2021.

The larger and more prosperous Korea ranks in the top five across four of the measures of the Index; economic capability, military capability, economic relationships and defence networks. South Korea performs best in the defence networks measure, where it places 4th as a major ally of the United States.

The country saw its greatest improvement in its resilience measure, where it moved up two places in the rankings. It now holds 7th place in resilience, a significant rise from 11th place in 2018 and 2019. Despite this, resilience remains South Korea’s lowest ranking in the Index.

South Korea exerts more influence in the region than expected given its available resources, as indicated by the country’s positive power gap score. While South Korea is a net overachiever in Asia, its positive power gap deteriorated in 2021.

Read more analysis in the Key Findings report . Explore further results in the Scores section.

Bilateral Influence

Bilateral trade, current dollars (2020)

Countries that influence South Korea

Globally, which countries does South Korea do most of its trade with?

China 29.1%

United States 13.9%

European Union 10.3%

Japan 7.2%

Vietnam 6.8%

Countries influenced by South Korea

Which countries in the region rely most on trade with South Korea?

Vietnam 12.1%

Malaysia 9.0%

China 6.6%

Taiwan 5.6%

Japan 5.5%