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Suicide is the sin

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By Park Moo-jong

South Korea has been an object of global admiration and envy thanks to the amazing economic and cultural development it accomplished from the ashes of the devastating 1950-53 Korean War.

After joining the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the rich country club, in 1996, it officially became a "developed" country last month by giving up its status as a developing nation in the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Behind such a brilliant economic success, however, South Korea still faces many social and political problems, not to speak of the worsening economic situation and chronic confrontation between conservatives and progressives.

Against this backdrop, South Korea has earned a dishonorable title as a country with the highest suicide rate among the 34 OECD members. Furthermore, it is ranked fourth in the world (26.9 suicides per 100,000) following Lithuania (31.9), Russia (31), and the South American country of Guyana (29.2), according to a World Health Organization report.

Last year alone, 13,670 Koreans took their own life, accounting for 37.5 per day or one per 38 minutes, up about 10 percent from 2017. Authorities analyze that there are indications of the "Werther effect"........

© The Korea Times