NZ awaits South Korean whaling decision
Fri, 13 Jul 2012 2:21p.m.
Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully is hopeful that South Korea will not proceed with "scientific" whaling but has been told a final decision has not been made.
South Korea announced at an International Whaling Commission (IWC) meeting in Panama last week that it planned to follow Japan's lead and use a loophole in the 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling to proceed with a scientific research programme.
Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr told AAP in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, yesterday afternoon that he had been assured by his South Korean counterpart Kim Sung-Hwan that Seoul had decided against going ahead with programme.
Mr McCully, also in Phnom Penh for the East Asia Summit of foreign ministers, told NZ Newswire that he raised the issue with Kim yesterday.
"He confirmed that no final decisions have been made by the South Korean government.
"I am hopeful that New Zealand's position will be fully considered before any final decisions are made," he said.
Speaking on the sidelines of Phnom Penh meeting, Senator Carr said he had every confidence South Korea would honour the commitment made to him in talks yesterday.
"I said that Australia was concerned about whaling, consistently opposed to whaling," Senator Carr said.
"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."
The announcement last week prompted a swift rebuke from animal rights groups, as well as from the governments of Australia, the United States and New Zealand.
Norway and Iceland have rejected a 1986 moratorium on commercial whaling, and Japan uses a loophole to conduct so-called "scientific" whaling.
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