South Korean newspapers report that Iceland and South Korea have agreed today "to strengthen cooperation on the Arctic region". "A move that could help explore the northern polar route that holds large potential for cost and saving time for shipping companies" Cheong Wa Dae said. The two sides also agreed to push for a consultative meeting to discuss their policies on the Arctic region, beginning next year.
The agreement was reached during the summit between President Park Geun-hye and her Iceland counterpart, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, at the South Korean presidential office.
South Korea has been very active on Arctic issues lately. In 2013, it gained observer status on the Arctic Council, and released its Arctic Policy on December same here. "The goal of the Master Plan (Arctic Policy)", the text reads "is to contribute to sustainable future of the Arctic by enhancing cooperation with the Arctic states and relevant international organizations in the areas of science, technology and economy. It aims for the Republic of Korea to:
- strengthen international cooperation;
- build a foundation for polar scientific research;
- and create new business areas (by participating in the Arctic Council and its Working Groups)"
The Plan was jointly developed by seven ministries and administrations (the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF), Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP), Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE), Ministry of Environment (MOE), Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT), and Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA). National research institutes such as the Korea Maritime Institute (KMI), Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI) under KIOST, Korea Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources (KIGAM), etc. also took part).
(Download the Korean Arctic Policy here).