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Changing Environments of the Arctic Region and Korea′s Arctic Policy : Restrictions and Prospects

  • The Journal of Northeast Asia Research
  • Abbr : NEA
  • 2016, 31(1), pp.175-204
  • DOI : 10.18013/jnar.2016.31.1.007
  • Publisher : The Institute for Northeast Asia Research
  • Research Area : Social Science > Political Science > International Politics > International Relations / Cooperation

Yun Jiwon 1

1평택대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

The Arctic Region is a region where important values, risks, opportunities, and international cooperation coexist, so it must be approached with utmost emphasis on development and protection. The five coastal countries’ claim of dominion over the North Pole region is the subject of an international legal dispute, as there is currently no actual occupancy or practical governance over the region. These countries lead in the development of the Northern Sea Route (NSR) and resources, but a national border treaty has yet to be concluded. Currently in the Arctic Region the sovereignty of individual countries over the waters is not recognized by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, and 200 nautical miles of economic zone is applied to these coastal countries. Defrosting of the Arctic Region has been accelerating due to global warming, which has led Korea to acknowledge the importance of the pole and prompted it to initiate various activities. In future mid-to-long term projects, Korea will have to expand its participation and role in the strategic sense concerning the expansion of territorial space, resource development, native and environment protection, and significant financial support for the active use and commercialization of the NSR as a permanent observer of the Arctic Council (AC) since May 2013. A responsive plan must systematically be established to enhance international cooperation concerning the construction of global governance, and the relativity of the coastal countries of the Arctic Region must be considered, particularly with cooperation with Russia. In this context, this article is to analyze the geopolitical and spatial properties of the Arctic region and the restrictions on developing Arctic resources, and consider the problems and means of commercializing the Arctic Ocean route and the role of Korea in the AC. Based on which, counter plan tasks required for a mid-to-long term initiation of an efficient Arctic Policy by Korea will be proposed.

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