South Korea is under fire from the international community over its plan to resume whaling.
Officials from the Ministry for Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries say it is for research purposes, but other countries suspect that it is a cover for commercial whaling.
Korean officials announced the plan Wednesday at the International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Panama.
Kang Joon-suk, a ministry official, said whaling would take place only in Korean waters, unlike Japan, which has angered Australia and New Zealand by killing hundreds of whales a year in the Antarctic.
He stated, ”The proposed scientific research program is designed to analyze and accumulate biological and ecological data on the minke whales migrating off the Korean Peninsula.”
Immediately after the announcement, the United States said it was “extremely concerned” about the resumption of whaling, and asked Korea to drop its plan, together with Australia and New Zealand.
“We are extremely concerned about South Korea’s push to kill whales in the name of research,” said Russell Smith, deputy assistant secretary for international fisheries at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
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