Global Peace Index: South China Sea a ‘Potential Area For Conflict’


This week, the Institute for Economics and Peace published its annual Global Peace Index. This year’s index highlighted that escalating civil strife and the consequent refugee crisis have been among the key drivers in increasing the cost of containing global violence.

The intensity of armed conflict increased dramatically, with the number of people killed in conflicts globally rising more than 3.5 times from 49,000 in 2010 to 180,000 in 2014.

Despite ongoing improvements in peace in many countries, the number and intensity of armed conflicts increased dramatically, with a 267 percent rise in the number of deaths from conflict since 2010, creating unprecedented levels of refugees.

With specific reference to the Asia-Pacific region, the index highlights diverse trends:

The Asia-Pacific region ranked third behind Europe and North America in the Global Peace Index. However, as a region it contains the most diversity, with three countries in the top ten and a single country, North Korea, in the bottom ten of the overall rankings.

The paper also notes increased regional tensions in the Asia-Pacific region during 2014:

The South China Sea remains a potential area for conflict, with countries involved in the dispute (China, Vietnam and the Philippines) all showing a worsening of their scores in the 2015 index. Although the likelihood of further military skirmishes in the disputed waters is high, a large-scale military engagement remains unlikely.

Additionally, the Global Peace Index states that the Philippines suffered from an escalation of internal conflicts. It also underlines that Myanmar showed a worsening of its score, “partly driven by the imposition of martial law in the Kokang Self-Administered Zone in Shan State on the border with China, which is reflected in a deterioration in likelihood of violent demonstrations.”


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