South Korea is a middle power in Asia.
South Korea’s power ranking has dropped by one place from last year, having been overtaken by Australia. Despite Seoul’s broadly competent handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the country is one of eighteen in the region to trend downward in its overall score in 2020.
Nevertheless, the larger and more prosperous Korea ranks in the top five across six of the measures of the Index, delivering strong and consistent performances in the influence measures in particular.
South Korea performs best in the defence networks measure, where it places 4th as a major ally of the United States. However, it has been knocked from third place in the measure by Japan in 2020.
The country saw its greatest improvement in its resilience measure, where it moved up two places in the rankings. Despite this, resilience remains South Korea’s lowest ranking in the Index. It has also slipped by two places in the cultural influence measure relative to 2019.
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 2020.
Read more analysis in the Key Findings report. Explore further results in the Scores section.
A country’s weighted average across eight measures of power