The rogue state of North Korea has apparently given itself the right to conduct economic and industrial activity on the Norwegian territory of Svalbard after signing an ancient treaty.
The country signed the Svalbard Treaty on 25 January according to The Korean Central News Agency.
The Sunday Express reports:.
The agency said in a news bulletin: “The accession of the Treaty gives the country the right to practice economic activities and research on Svalbard Islands.”
It is unknown what the rogue state’s agenda on Svalbard is.
The Arctic island is a base for one of the world’s most extensive international seed vaults.
Countries from around the globe have contributed to the extensive collection and is a back up for all plants should they go extinct.
States can deposit seeds regardless if they are a member of the treaty or not.
Norway’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Ane Lunde said: “We have noted the unverified news report.
“We have not seen any evidence that the country has ratified the Svalbard Treaty.”
She said that new countries ratifying the treaty must do so via the record-keeper France.
The original agreement was signed between a number of nations in Paris on 9 February 1920.
To date 42 countries have signed the treaty.
Ms Lunde also said that if North Korea had made a bid for the treaty, it would take some time for the other countries on the agreement to be informed.
She said: “France will notify the other Contracting Parties, and it may take some time.”
The Foreign Ministry spokeswoman rejected the claim by Korean Central News Agency that the Svalbard Treaty regulates research.
“Signing of the Treaty gives no exclusive right to engage in research.
“It’s the Norwegian Government that gives special permission for research.”
Officials refused to comment on whether or not North Korea would be engaging in any form of activity on Svalbard in the future.
Lunde said: “Currently this is completely hypothetical, and something we will not comment on now.”
The treaty stipulates that Svalbard is part of Norway, and that countries who sign the agreement get equal rights to resources.
These resources include fishing, hunting, maritime activity, mining and trade.
North Korea is not allowed to create military bases in the area, and foreign military presence is not welcome.
To date only Norway and Russia have used their rights to extract coal on the arctic island.
According to the North Korean news agency, Svalbard would be ideal for their nation because of the rich landfills of coal, fishing grounds and other resources.
The Nordic isle has also been the base for countless expeditions to the Arctic.
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