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Korea, Norway to better use Northern Sea Route

South Korea and Norway will work together to brainstorm ways to better use the Northern Sea Route, which has recently witnessed a sharp rise in shipping traffic, the government said Wednesday.

The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said bilateral maritime cooperation talks slated for Thursday in the port city of Busan, 453 kilometers southeast of Seoul, will allow the two countries to expand ongoing cooperative efforts to check conditions in the Arctic Ocean, including shipping traffic.

"The two countries will discuss measures to broaden cooperation in such areas as maritime transportation through the Arctic region and the creation of a logistics system to handle shipping traffic," the ministry said. "Such joint efforts can make it possible for ships to better use the route in the future."

Seoul and Oslo presently support studies carried out by Yongsan University in Busan and Norway's Centre for High North Logistics to make better use of the North Sea Route.

The Northern Route links the Pacific to the Atlantic. It has become more accessible with the melting of ice in the polar region and is very attractive to logistics and cargo companies because it takes less time to make the voyage between Asia and Europe compared to conventional sea routes.

Besides this, the two sides plan to exchange views on how to reduce the release of nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide into the atmosphere from ships and bunkering technology related to liquefied natural gas.

The bilateral maritime meeting has been held every year since 2013, following the signing of a memorandum of understanding in September 2012. (Yonhap)