A plan to build South Korea's second research station in the Antarctic has gained approval from the international community, paving the way for its construction in 2014, the foreign ministry here said Wednesday.
The support came at a meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, among member nations of the Antarctic Treaty System, the ministry said in a statement. Of the 33 member states, 16 nations, including the United States, Britain, China and Japan, voiced their support, with the others expected to follow suit during the 12-day Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting (ATCM) ending on July 1, it said.
"(These nations) highly assessed our efforts to build the base in an environmentally friendly manner," the ministry said.
The Jang Bo-go Antarctic Research Station, named after a ninth-century admiral who dominated international maritime trade in East Asia and battled pirates off South Korea's southern coast, was first conceived in 1996. The idea started gaining traction in recent years after South Korea built its first icebreaker ship in 2009 to facilitate the transport of supplies to its polar bases.
South Korea has been running the King Sejong Base on King George Island near the northern part of the Antarctic since 1988.
The site for the new station is on Terra Nova Bay on the southeastern tip of the continent, giving easier access and more operational convenience for research on weather developments, seismic activities and other conditions on the frozen continent.
The construction plan is expected to be given the final go-ahead at next year's ATCM after passing an environmental impact test, the ministry said. (Yonhap News)