Arctic policy of South Korea
Arctic Policy of South Korea is South Korea's foreign relations with Arctic countries, and the South Korean government's attitudes and actions on issues occurring within the geographic boundaries of "the Arctic" or related to the Arctic or its peoples.
Arctic Council Permanent Observer Status
South Korea has a permanent observer status. With the status, South Korea will be able to participate in the work of the Arctic Council's six working groups that cover sustainable development, Arctic monitoring and assessment, persistent organic pollutants and others.
Interest in Arctic Resources
The Arctic Ocean contains about 25% of the earths natural resources and oil which are still not found. This attracts countries like Canada, USA and Russia. Canada claims all the resources situated in Northwest Passage as its rightful resources as the resources come under its Exclusive Economic zone. On the other hand, USA feels that the Arctic ocean is international waters and the resources should be used by all countries.
Arctic Shipping Routes
In particular, the Arctic has become increasingly important to South Korea because of the possibility of quicker shipping routes between Europe and Asia as the ice in the region continues to melt. Currently, it takes about 24 days for a South Korean container ship to arrive in Europe. However, shipping routes via the polar region could shorten the trip to 10 days, according to the official.Though these trade routes can only be used in summer time because almost the whole ocean freezes in winter.
South Korea spends more on Arctic research than the United States.