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North Korea more stable since Kim Jong Un took power: World Bank

The transition from Kim Jong Il to his son has settled some of North Korea's uncertainty about who would succeed the ageing leader, according to a new World Bank report.

Kim Jong Un North Korea stability World Bank 25 9 2013Enlarge
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SEOUL — North Korea's political stability has improved over the past couple of years following its power transition, a World Bank report showed Wednesday.

According to the World Governance Indicators (WGI) data compiled by the World Bank, the North's aggregate indicator of "political stability and absence of violence" came to 0.01 in 2012, up from minus 0.32 a year earlier.

The data reflect perceptions of the likelihood that a government will be destabilized or overthrown by unconstitutional or violent means, including politically motivated violence and terrorism, the organization said.

They are measured based on 31 underlying sources reporting the perceptions of governance of a large number of survey respondents and expert assessments worldwide, with scores ranging from minus 2.5 to plus 2.5, according to the bank.

The level of the communist country's stability reached minus 0.51 in 1996 when expectations ran high even among serious North Korea observers about the collapse of the regime following the death of its founder Kim Il-sung.

After his son Kim Jong-il took the helm, the figure had been on the rise to reach 0.54 in 2008. But it plunged to minus 0.38 in 2010, which is likely attributable to his faltering health.

Following Kim Jong-il's death in December 2011, his youngest son Kim Jong-un inherited the power and has since led the country, which would make the country more stable than before when the future was less certain.

North Korea stood in the middle among 215 countries surveyed in terms of political stability in 2012, according to the report.

The WGI paper shows governance indicators for around 200 countries over the period from 1996 to 2012, covering six categories: voice and accountability; political stability and absence of violence; government effectiveness; regulatory quality; rule of law; and control of corruption.

In terms of the remaining five indicators, North Korea ranked low, with its level of voice and accountability, which reflects freedom of expression and citizen participation in selecting their government, coming to minus 2.17, government effectiveness to minus 1.93 and rule of law to minus 1.25, the report showed.

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