Did North Korea Really Rank Itself as the World’s 2nd Happiest Country?
In the words of Forbes’ Beijing bureau chief Gady Epstein, this is the kind of news that’s “too good to verify”: North Korea’s Chosun Central TV has apparently released a survey conducted in its own country, ranking North Korea as the second happiest nation in the world.
This happiness index, which ostensibly measures the “gross national happiness” of each nation, claims China is the happiest country in the world, having earned 100 out of a possible 100 points. The other countries among the top 5 are Cuba (no. 3), Venezuela (no.4), and Iran (no. 5). The United States, by contrast, is dead last at number 203, listed subtly as ”The American Empire (美帝国)” and having earned only 3 points. South Korea finds itself mediocrely ranked at number 152.
As unlikely as this index may seem, it nevertheless is an interesting reflection on the country’s tenuous relations with various countries, most of all with China — whose recent reception of Dear Leader Kim Jong-il has been seen by some media commentators as evidence of North Korea’s growing economic dependence.
Things may be looking up, however, following an American envoy’s recent visit to North Korea — the first since 2009 — which signals a willingness to revive multilateral talks about the isolated nation’s nuclear weapons programme.
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TAGS: Happiness • North Korea • North Korea and China relations • North Korea nuclear power • Politics • United States
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