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Vietnam slips on global peace index

By Nguyen Quy   June 13, 2020 | 05:41 am PT
Vietnam slips on global peace index
A girl plays with pigeons in downtown HCMC, 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Nguyen.
Vietnam has slipped three places to 64th among 163 economies on the 2020 Global Peace Index, while remaining 12th in the Asia-Pacific region.

The country ranks higher than several Asian neighbors including Cambodia (78), China (104), Thailand (114), Myanmar (127) and the Philippines (129), according to the 2020 edition of the annual index released this week by the Institute for Economics and Peace.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Vietnam remains 12th among 19 independent states and territories. New Zealand and Singapore have held on to the top two positions, while the Philippines and North Korea remained the worst in the region.

The Australian think tank ranked 163 countries and territories around the world in terms of their level of peacefulness based on 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators grouped in three categories: level of safety and security in society, the extent of domestic or international conflict, and the degree of militarization.

On societal safety and domain security that measures the level of harmony or discord within a nation, the index ranked Vietnam 51st, mentioning low crime rates, minimal terrorist activity and violent demonstrations as well as a stable political scene.

In terms of ongoing domestic and international conflict, Vietnam stood 55th globally, faring better than major economies like the U.S., China and South Korea.

Vietnam's military expenditure was estimated at $5.5 billion in 2019, accounting for 2.1 percent of GDP, higher than many other countries in the Asia-Pacific region, such as the Philippines ($3.8 billion), Malaysia ($3.5 billion), New Zealand ($2.3 billion) and Myanmar ($2 billion), the report noted.

Meanwhile, Vietnam's expenditure on violence containment took up 6 percent of GDP in 2019, ranking 79th globally, compared to the U.S. that ranked 49th, spending 8 percent of GDP on violence containment, the report said.

Syria and South Sudan topped the list, spending nearly 60 percent to contain violence, while Indonesia spent just 2 percent.

Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008, followed by New Zealand, Austria, Portugal, and Denmark.

War-torn Afghanistan is the least peaceful country in the world for the second year in a row, following Syria, Iraq, South Sudan and Yemen.

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