00:25 GMT06 August 2020
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    Japan, China and South Korea announced on Thursday that they have teamed up for a joint scientific study in the Arctic Ocean to prepare the ground for future resource development and the opening of new shipping routes.

    The East Asian countries reached the agreement during their second high-level trilateral talks on Arctic issues at the Foreign Ministry in Tokyo. The first round of talks was held in Seoul in April last year.

    According to Japanese officials, the nations will explore a number of issues together, such as the levels of marine pollution and the impact of climate change in the region. The Arctic has drawn international attention in the recent years due to its rich untapped oil, gas and rare earth metal reserves.

    A joint statement issued after the talks said that climate change has created both challenges and opportunities and that the matter should be addressed more thoroughly at a global level.

    "It is indispensable for the international community to ensure the protection and preservation of the fragile marine environment of the Arctic Ocean, and maintain peace, stability and constructive cooperation based on a rule-based maritime order," the statement said.

    The three sides have decided to report their discussions to the Arctic Council, which comprises Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States. Four years ago, Japan, China and South Korea joined the intergovernmental body as observers.

    The countries hope to use the data collected to ensure the environment is protected during development work and to predict the best timing for navigation in the Arctic Ocean, the officials said.

    China is to host the third Trilateral High-Level Dialogue on the Arctic in 2018.


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