The Antarctic Treaty System originated in 1961 during the height of the Cold War, and although the Cold War effectively ended more than two decades ago, the Antarctic Treaty System remains in force. The countries that are signatories to the Antarctic Treaty System are listed in the table below. One might argue, given the importance of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean for the conditions of the larger world, that the treaty system is now more important than ever. The Antarctic Treaty System provides the foundation for treating the continent of Antarctica as a scientific research zone, while excluding hostile military activity and territorial conquest. Subsequent additions to the Antarctic Treaty System of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resource, which manages fishing in the Southern Ocean, and the Environmental Protocol provide explicit regulations to maintain the comparatively pristine conditions of the continent.

TABLE Signatories of the Antarctic Treaty System, Country and Date Joined (as of 2011)

Argentina 23-6-61* Japan 23-6-61*
Australia 23-6-61* Korea DPRK 21-1-87
Austria 25-8-87 Korea ROK 28-11-76
Belgium 23-6-61* Monaco 30-5-08
Belarus 27-12-06 Netherlands 30-3-67
Brazil 16-5-75 New Zealand 23-6-61*
Bulgaria 11-9-78 Norway 23-6-61*
Canada 04-5-88 Papua New Guinea 16-9-75
Chile 23-6-61* Peru 10-4-81
China 08-6-83 Poland 23-6-61
Colombia 31-1-89 Portugal 29-1-10
Cuba 6-8-84 Romania 15-9-71
Czech Republic 01-9-93 Russian Federation 23-6-61*
Denmark 20-5-65 Slovak Republic 01-1-93
Ecuador 15-9-87 South Africa 23-6-61*
Estonia 17-5-01 Spain 31-3-82
Finland 15-5-84 Sweden 24-4-84
France 23-6-61* Switzerland 15-11-90
Germany 05-2-79 Turkey 24-1-96
Greece 08-1-87 Ukraine 28-10-92
Guatemala 31-7-91 United Kingdom 23-6-61*
Hungary 27-1-84 United States 23-6-61*
India 19-8-83 Uruguay 11-1-80
Italy 18-3-81 Venezuela 24-3-99

*Original signatory.

SOURCE: Information from Antarctic Treaty Secretariat.

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