Korea ranks 11th in the world terms of soft power, up three notches from the last year on the strength of emergence of K-Pop and Psy's global hit "Gangnam Style." The U.K. tops the list.
Soft power refers to means of friendly persuasion through sports and culture rather than "hard" coercion backed by financial might and military power.
The U.K. outpaced the U.S. as the world's most influential nation in the index released by the advertorial magazine Monocle on Monday. Germany came third, followed by France and Sweden. Japan ranked sixth and China 22nd.
The term was coined by Prof. Joseph Nye of Harvard University in 1990.
The U.K. ranked first thanks to the 22 British pop albums that made it to No. 1 in foreign countries, the 65 medals British athletes won in the last Olympics, and Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee events, according to the magazine.
Korea came 19th in the first survey in 2010 and 14th last year. "Now known for more than just good technology, the emergence of K-Pop, as exemplified by Psy's 'Gangnam Style,' is a ready-made export," the Daily Mail reported.
Japan's ranking has also persistently risen from 15th in 2010 to sixth, but China fell to 22nd this year from 17th in the first survey.