With just two days to go before eight Arctic nations hold a key meeting, South Korea is making a last-minute push to gain a foothold in the increasingly-influential Arctic Council, according to Seoul officials Monday.
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se held his second telephone conversation this month with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird on Saturday and again requested that Canada render support for South Korea’s bid to gain permanent observer status of the Arctic Council at its ministerial meeting in Sweden on Wednesday.
The ministry has sent a delegation to Sweden as part of its final push to gain observer status, ministry officials said.
Currently, South Korea is an “ad-hoc observer” at the council, along with China and Japan, and is bidding for permanent observer status with the aim of securing a bigger voice in the increasingly influential forum.
The Arctic is one of the last-remaining regions in the world with large untapped reserves of oil and gas as well as increasingly important rare earth materials. Though their acquisition has been considered difficult, development possibilities have increased due to global warming.
The eight member countries are: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States. (Yonhap News)