United States warns China, Russia against 'aggressive behaviour' in Arctic

06 Mai, 2019, 23:45 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • United States warns China, Russia against 'aggressive behaviour' in Arctic

Speaking ahead of talks in Finland between the eight Arctic states, Pompeo warned that "the region has become an arena of global power and competition" thanks to its vast reserves of oil, gas, minerals and fish stocks.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that Russian Federation is behaving aggressively in the Arctic and China's actions there had to be watched closely as well, amid growing divisions in the polar region over global warming and access to minerals.

The Arctic Council's remit excludes military matters, but participants have already clashed, with the Washington Post reporting that the United States had refused to sign a final declaration, disagreeing with the wording on climate change. He said the rule of law must prevail for the Arctic to remain peaceful and slammed both China and Russian Federation for what he said were coercive practices that would destabilize the "high North" if repeated.

"We're entering a new age of strategic engagement in the Arctic, complete with new threats to the Arctic and its real estate, and to all of our interests in the region", he said.

For the US he said that means boosting America's security and diplomatic presence with new military exercises, icebreakers and expanded Coast Guard Operations.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a warning against China and Russia's presence in the Arctic.

"There are only Arctic states and non-Arctic states", he said. "No third category exists-and claiming otherwise entitles China to exactly nothing".

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He said the council had once been able to focus exclusively on non-controversial scientific, environmental and cultural issues but that the profound changes in the Arctic's environment and strategic rivalries no longer offered that luxury.

Pompeo took particular aim at China, which, unlike Russian Federation, does not have any territory or claim in the Arctic.

"Just because the Arctic is a place of wilderness does not mean it should become a place of lawlessness", he'll say, according to advance excerpts obtained by POLITICO.

But according to Meller, the United States is not alone in looking to take advantage of the region's natural resources: "The Norwegian government wants to open new oil fields in Arctic waters, and the Finnish government has tried to push an Arctic railway connection forward".

During a press conference with the Arctic Council in Finland Monday, he called out China's aggressive attempts to establish infrastructure in the region. Many of those critics fear the administration is intent on using Arctic resources with no thought for its consequences or mitigation.

In his speech, Pompeo also denounced Russia's "provocative actions", accusing Moscow of wanting to remilitarise the region.

A prepared text of Pompeo's speech, for example, ran to 2,400 words but did not mention "climate change". "Arctic sea lanes could become the 21st century's Suez and Panama Canals", he said.

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