Released annually, the index, produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace, a global think tank headquartered in Sydney, uses 23 indicators across three key domains: Societal Safety and Security, Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict, and Militarization, in order to measure the state of peace around the globe.
China, sitting right between Guatemala and Thailand, fared worst this year in Societal Safety and Security, scoring a 2.47 out of 5 (1 being the most peaceful and 5 the least). It scored a 2.04 in Militarization and a 2.1 in Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict, giving it a final score of 2.24.
This is the same score that it received last year, reflecting that China’s marginal improvement in the rankings actually has more to do with the decline of peace around the world.
China’s Ongoing Domestic and International Conflict score did worsen a bit as tensions have continued to increase in the South China Sea where China’s sweeping claims, island-building, and militarization has put it into conflict with its neighbors and the US.
”As China exerts itself, both militarily and politically in the region, neighboring countries are also increasing their military capacities. Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, the Philippines, Japan,
Papua New Guinea and Thailand all recorded increased weapons imports in the last year,” the report notes.
This week, China removed missile systems from one island in the sea after US Secretary of Defense James Mattis accused Beijing of “intimidation and coercion” of its neighbors through militarization. However, observers believe that this may only be a temporary arrangement in an arena where tensions only seem to continue to rise.
Last week, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said that his country would go to war with Chinaover natural resources in the South China Sea. However, he later walked that comment back, saying that war with China would be just like committing “suicide” for him because he believes that his military and police would overthrow and possibly execute him for getting them into a war that they can not possibly win.
Globally, the level of peace has deteriorated for the 4th year in a row as conflicts continue to rage in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and Africa. Here are the world’s 10 most peaceful countries:
- New Zealand
- Czech Republic
And the 10 least:
- South Sudan
- Democratic Republic of the Congo
- Central African Republic