South Korea has joined a international Antarctic research base in Christchurch, the New Zealand's second city, Antarctica New Zealand institute announced Monday.
The Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI) is to open a cooperation office at the International Antarctic Center, where the New Zealand, the United States and Italian national Antarctic programs were based, Antarctica New Zealand Chief Executive Peter Beggs said in a statement.
A cooperation agreement between the New Zealand and the South Korean national Antarctic programs would be signed, adding greater value to the bilateral agreements signed in 2012 which facilitated the transit of personnel and equipment of the Korean Antarctic Program through New Zealand for the construction of South Korea's Jang Bogo Station during 2013.
Both agreements promoted ongoing cooperation between the two countries on Antarctic policy issues, scientific research and logistical activities.
"From today, all four international Antarctic programs working in the Ross Sea region are co-located at one Antarctic hub in Christchurch. This means we can better support our operational activities through the joint movement of personnel and sharing of resources in the region," said Beggs.
The center also housed the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute (NZARI), which partnered with local and international research agencies to develop a global understanding of Antarctica' s impacts and vulnerability in a changing global climate.
"NZARI is looking forward to further enhancing New Zealand's collaborative research efforts in Antarctica with KOPRI over the coming seasons. We already have a solid foundation which includes joint plans for research this season, and today's cooperation agreement between Antarctica New Zealand and KOPRI expands this opportunity," NZARI director Gary Wilson said in the statement.