South Korea has been elected to serve the Category A group of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for the eighth straight term, solidifying the country’s status as a global leader in seafaring affairs, the government said Monday.
The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries said the assembly of the United Nations agency, which convened in London late last week, picked South Korea as one of the 10 council members of the Category A group, which are countries with the largest interest in providing international shipping services.
The others elected to serve in the group for two years were the United States, China, Japan, Russia, Britain, Norway, Italy, Greece and Panama. Category A members are considered to be the standing board of the IMO, and play key roles in exerting influence on the shipping and shipbuilding markets.
Asia’s fourth-largest economy joined the IMO in 1962 and was previously a member of the 20-member Category C group starting in 1991 for 10 years. It joined Category A in 2001, and has held onto the position ever since.
“South Korea’s membership clearly marks it as one of the global leaders in maritime affairs,” a ministry source said.
The country has made steady strides to take part in various IMO programs and has been supporting developing countries, fighting pirates, developing guidelines on water ballasts and improving navigation.
In addition to the country being re-elected as a Category A member, the IMO‘s assembly unanimously approved Lim Ki-tack as the agency’s next secretary-general.
Lim, the former head of the Busan Port Authority, will lead the IMO starting Jan. 1. He was tapped for the top port in June.
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