Has South Korea canned whaling plans already?

By Matthew Theunissen

South Korea is reportedly abandoning its plan to conduct "scientific" whaling after it was strongly condemned by world leaders.

South Korean officials announced at the International Whaling Commission in Panama earlier this month it would exploit a loophole in the moratorium on whaling in the same way Japan does.

However, AAP reported that Australia's Foreign Minister Bob Carr said he had been assured by his South Korean counterpart, Kim Sung-Hwan, that it had been decided not to go ahead with the programme.

"I said that Australia was concerned about whaling, consistently opposed to whaling.

"He instantly said that they would take the advice of the International Whaling Commission, that the views expressed by their people in Panama weren't those of the government as a whole.

"I think the government of South Korea has spoken here."

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully is also understood to have met Mr Sung-Hwan at the East Asia Summit in Cambodia last week.

He earlier said the so-called scientific whaling programme in the North West Pacific was "a serious setback for those who are committed to conservation of the species".

"The portrayal of this initiative as a scientific programme will have no more credibility than the so-called scientific programme conducted by Japan, which has long been recognised as commercial whaling in drag.

"In this day and age there is simply no need to kill whales in order to conduct effective research."

South Korea had planned to target minke whales in the Sea of Japan.



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