By Park Gil-ja and Yoon Sojung
Korea last year received its highest corruption perception index (CPI) from Transparency International (TI), a Berlin-based organization measuring global corruption levels.
TI announced on Jan. 29 that Korea had a CPI of 57 in 2018, up three points from 2017. The country also ranked 45th among the 180 countries surveyed, up from 51st the previous year.
The CPI gauges a country’s corruption level as perceived by civil servants and politicians on a scale from zero for "highly corrupt" to 100 for "very clean," based on surveys and expert assessments of corruption in the public sector.
By area, Korea showed remarkable improvement in the indexes for sustainable governance and transformation, both of which measure the potential for abuse of power by public officials for personal interest.
Korea also showed improvement in perceived collusion between politics and business.
On Korea's improvement, TI Korea said, "This shows the results of the government's effort to root out past wrongdoings as its first priority among policy goals and its second priority of achieving a 'transparent Korea' through an anti-corruption reform drive."
The government is striving to implement anti-corruption reform under the goal of breaking into the CPI's top 20 countries by 2022.
Cheong Wa Dae welcomed TI's announcement, saying, "This result is the outcome of the people's strong aspiration for a transparent society and the strong anti-corruption objective of President Moon Jae-in."
"It also reflects the concerted efforts of all government organizations, including an anti-corruption policy committee and a related presidential senior secretary office."
The presidential office added, "We will do our utmost to make Korea a country of justice by faithfully implementing the recently announced five-year comprehensive anti-corruption plan."