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South Korea Scraps Whaling Plans

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The Federal Government says South Korea has abandoned its plans to start a so-called scientific whaling program.

South Korea sparked an international outcry last week when it unveiled the plan at the International Whaling Commission meeting in Panama.

The Australian Government labelled it unacceptable and ordered Australian diplomats to lodge protests in Seoul.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today said he had held talks on whaling with his Korean counterpart Kim Sung-Hwan at the East Asia Summit in Cambodia.
"I was very heartened that he indicated to me that plans for scientific whaling, as it's called, would not proceed," Senator Carr told PM.

"I told him that was a decision that would be warmly welcomed.

"I said Korea's committed itself to green growth - it's capable of becoming a global green super-power - and its green credentials would not be compromised, as they would be if whaling had been pursued.

"I think it's a very happy outcome and it reflects a lot of credit on the statesmanship and the responsiveness of the Korean leadership."

Opposition environment spokesman Greg Hunt says Korea need to make its stance on whaling clearer.

"We'll reserve our final judgement until it's crystal clear that there will be no whaling by South Korea," he said.

"But any progress is good progress and it's important to be generous not stingy."

South Korean officials had previously hinted Seoul may bow to international pressure and abandon the plan.

The plan would have used a loophole in the global whaling moratorium to resume the killing of whales in its own waters for so-called scientific research.

South Korea says fishermen have been calling for the whales to be killed because they are increasing in numbers and impacting fish stocks.

Senator Carr says the Korean government was divided over the issue.

"I joked that was very often the case in democratic politics; (that) the views of one arm of the government aren't those of the government as a whole," he said.

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