Success in heading north? South Korea's master plan for Arctic policy

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13 Citations (Scopus)


South Korea's seven governmental ministries and agency jointly announced a "Master Plan for Arctic Policy" on December 10, 2013. This represents the state's first comprehensive Arctic policy document. This paper aims to analyze the Korean government's Master Plan from both the legal and policy perspectives, as well as to make constructive comments for its improvement. Environmental changes, the need for scientific research, growing economic optimism about the Arctic region, and political leadership have led South Korea to head north. These four factors form the basis for the Master Plan. This document outlines Korea's vision (to be a reliable and responsible partner in this polar region), three policy goals, four strategies, and thirty-one projects connected to the Arctic region. The formation of the Master Plan has been an opportunity for South Korea to organize and compile all the various Arctic activities independently conducted by governmental ministries and agency. In order to improve South Korea's Arctic policy since the Master Plan, the author recommends that the nation prioritize its projects according to its needs and the feasibility of each project. Prudence is required in the drafting and implementation of Arctic policy to respect Arctic states' sovereignties and sovereign rights over the Arctic areas. Finally, strengthening cooperation with the Arctic states and at Arctic forums is indispensable. In particular, bilateral cooperation is essential for South Korea to perform economic activities such as the exploration for oil and gas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-272
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Nov 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aquatic Science
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Law


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