Biden Names Arctic Ambassador to China Eyes Region

Uppsala, Sweden — The Biden administration plans to appoint a general ambassador for the Arctic amid growing awareness of the region’s potential strategic importance, China’s newest major power to claim.

It is not clear who will be nominated or when they will be nominated, but According to PoliticoAppointments are subject to Senate approval.

of The Arctic’s Growing Geopolitical Importance This is because global warming will allow access to mineral and energy reserves in the region, allowing for the development of new sea lanes.

Russia is expand military presence in the regionand China has declared itself a “near-Arctic nation” and announced its intention to establish a “Polar Silk Road” as part of the Belt and Road Initiative. in the 2018 white paper.

According to the white paper, China, being in a “near Arctic” state, has the same rights as Arctic nations to “conduct scientific research, sail, flyover, fish, and use undersea cables and pipelines. and the right to explore and exploit the natural resources of the Arctic high seas.

With its northernmost point about 1,500 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle, China has no Arctic territory. Eight countries – Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, and the United States – have territories above the Arctic Circle, extending north to Alaska.

Alaska Senator Lisa Markowski has long pushed for the ambassadorship. In an editorial in The Hill “The United States cannot allow diplomatic vacancies because how we deal with the Arctic will shape the world order.”

Noting the region’s geopolitical importance, she said, “The vast reserves of Arctic minerals will help meet burgeoning global demand,” and that Arctic shipping routes “will serve the world’s shipping regime.” We promise to significantly shorten the time required and make it cheaper,” he said.

Markowski wrote in his 4 August op-ed in his call for Arctic ambassadors: Non-Arctic countries also have Arctic ambassadors, such as China, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea.

The new post of Ambassador to the Arctic will replace the post of US Arctic Coordinator. Established January 1, 2020and is currently being held temporarily by State Department Counselor Derek Shorlett. told Politico The Biden administration sees “this moment as one of strategic opportunity.”

Murkowski “strongly” recommends that the first Arctic ambassador be “an Alaskan with a deep knowledge of the Arctic region and an overall understanding of Arctic policy.”

NATO warning

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg last week warned of Russia’s military buildup in the Arctic and expressed concern about China’s growing presence in the Arctic, after visiting Canada’s Arctic region for the first time.

China is planning to build the world’s largest icebreaker, he said. invest tens of billions of dollars in energy, infrastructure and research projects in the north.

Stoltenberg continued, “Our response is a strong and predictable Allied presence in the region. We have already established a new NATO command for the Atlantic.

He warned that Russia and China are forming a strategic Arctic partnership.

“Beijing and Moscow have also committed to strengthen practical cooperation in the Arctic. This forms part of a deepening strategic partnership that challenges our values ​​and interests.” said Stoltenberg.

watch out for china

Since 2013, China has been an accredited observer of the Arctic Council, a regional organization whose members are Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States.

In its 2018 white paper, Beijing said China is geopolitically close to the Arctic Circle and is a “key stakeholder in Arctic affairs”, describing the Arctic as “a community that shares the future of mankind”. .

For years, the United States has expressed suspicion of China’s plans in the Arctic.In May 2019, then-U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said: during a visit to Finland“There are only Arctic states and non-Arctic states. There is no third category, and claiming otherwise gives China absolutely no rights.

Some Arctic nations have also become skeptical of China’s growing interest in their region.

China’s economic impact in the Arctic, Research published by the Swedish Defense Research Agency “The Nordic countries, which have so far welcomed Chinese investment with open arms, are now wary of the risks of China’s growing influence,” the (FOI) said in June.

The report Despite China’s investment efforts Few transactions have been completed in the Arctic.

Some of these Chinese investment efforts have been canceled due to security concerns by the host country, said Oskar Armen, a senior research fellow at the FOI and co-author of the report.

“In the case of Greenland, many of these investments have apparently been rejected because of their intervention. The Nordic region and North America are increasingly fed up with China’s intentions,” Armen told VOA Mandarin. .

The report noted that the Danish government intervened in 2016 when Chinese mining company General Nice Group tried to buy an abandoned naval base in Greenland.

Danish politicians did not want to jeopardize their country’s relations with the United States, Reuters reported, citing sources involved in the decision. It gave the latter military rights in Greenland to strengthen the defenses of the Arctic and North America.

Another failed Chinese investment initiative came in 2018 when the Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration (CAA) attempted to purchase Finland’s Kemyarvi Airport in Lapland. According to local media, the Finnish Ministry of Defense has blocked Beijing because the airport was located near a strategic military range.

The FOI report says that if China continues with its current level of domestic repression and aggressive foreign policy, it will find it difficult to gain the trust of the Nordic countries. Biden Names Arctic Ambassador to China Eyes Region

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