South Korea ties up with Norway on Arctic shipping
"MV Nordic Barents" became the first non-Russian flag vessel to sail the Northern Sea Route in transit in 2010 from Kirkenes in Norway to a port in China. Photo: Nordic Shipping Company.
President Lee Myung-bak meets with Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg Wednesday morning to discuss how the two countries can take advantage of the new shipping routes opening between Europa and Asia as the Arctic sea ice melts.
Both Norway and South Korea are major global players in shipping. Norway is home to many of the world’s largest shipping companies, while South Korea is home to some of the largest ship-building yards in the world.
Establishing new shipping routes over the Arctic is a key agenda item for President Lee Myung-bak’s visit to Norway. Yesterday he had lunch at the Royal Castle in Oslo, while today starts with political discussions with Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, according to the portal of the Norwegian Government.
“New shipping lanes will significantly boost economic exchange between Asia and Europe,” President Lee said to the new-agency Yonhap on his first day in Norway.
“It takes about 30 days to go from South Korea to Europe by ship, but if Arctic routes are created, I think travel time will be halved. If that happens, economic exchanges between Europe and Asia will become very brisk. In particular, if Norway cooperates with us, Asian routes will be established, which will be very good for its future.”
The meeting between the two state leaders comes the same week as international ice- and climate scientists can report an all-time low for the Arctic sea-ice cap. Last week, the sea-ice cap dropped below 4 million square kilometers according to a report from the National Snow & Ice Data Centre. The will likely continue to melt even more to the end of this week before the freezing season starts again for the winter.
Earlier this week, BarentsObserver reported that the number of vessels and amount of cargo shipped along the Northern Sea Route have gained speed for the season. So far 22 vessels have sailed – 13 from the European part to Asia and nine from the east to the west. The season for shipping along the Northern Sea Route will likely last for another two months.
Another item on the South Korean’s President visiting Norway is cooperation on science and environment technology. On Tuesday, Lee Myung-bak Lee held video conference calls with South Korean scientists at the country’s research bases in Antarctica, the Arctic and aboard an icebreaker conducting research in polar areas, commending their hard work in extreme conditions, according to Yonhap.
The South Korea’n leader arrived to Norway directly from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Vladivostok. Russia and Norway are the two leading Arctic countries discussing how to deal with increased shipping in the Arctic as the global warming melts the ice.
Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Northern Fleet’s “Admiral Kuznetsov”, has finished repairs and is ready to leave the port of Murmansk. According to a Russian news agency, the vessel will sail to Syria.
A century and a half ago, Norway was home to roughly three thousand brown bears, the majority of bears in all of Scandinavia. By 1930, the bears were virtually extinct. Decades of aggressive management tactics and bounties had wiped out one of the area’s most iconic species.
Microplastics, the tiny plastic particles that are accumulating in marine waters and big lakes around the world, are now showing up in the Arctic waters south and southwest of Svalbard, Norway, a new study says.
REYKJAVIK: The climatic changes taking place in the Arctic are a call to action for the world. We must answer with more international cooperation and more research, says Tore Hattrem, State Secretary of Norway’s Foreign Ministry.
“Partnership should and shall shape the development of the Arctic, therefore cooperation is the starting point for our Arctic policy,” Vladimir Barbin, Senior Arctic Official and representative to the Arctic Council, said at the Arctic Circle 2015 assembly.
August 9th, the Barents Region celebrated the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day was commemorated in several parts of the region, including Karasjok in Northern Norway and Teriberka in Northwestern Russia.
Norway’s Foreign Minister Børge Brende has asked Russia for an explanation to the high number of asylum seekers coming to Norway via Russia. Syrian refugees that have lived in Russia for a long time, will be stopped on the border and sent back.