SEOUL, March 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will hold an international conference early next week to discuss policy issues for environment-friendly development of the Arctic, an official said Friday, as part of its latest push to join the Arctic Council.
The Monday conference will bring together South Korean Second Vice Foreign Minister Cho Tae-yul; ambassadors from Sweden, Denmark and Norway; and experts, including David Hik, a professor at the University of Alberta, the foreign ministry official said.
Entitled "Arctic Research and Policy in the New Age of Opening Arctic," the conference aims to assess how nations should approach the development of the Arctic, the official said.
The conference will come about two months before an executive board meeting of the Arctic Council decides whether to allow South Korea to join the council as a permanent observer.
The council's meeting will be held in Sweden on May 15, according to the official.
Along with China and Japan, South Korea is one of the "ad-hoc observers" at the council and is bidding for permanent observer status with the aim of securing a bigger voice in the increasingly influential forum.
"Throughout the conference, the government aims to highlight how it would promote the sustainable and eco-friendly development of the Arctic," the ministry official said.
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 recovery has been considered difficult, development possibilities have increased due to global warming.
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