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20 June, 2024
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US to appoint Arctic ambassador, first time in history

The move comes at a time when the Russians and Chinese are strengthening their presence in the region

Kathimerini Greece Newsroom

The United States is ready to appoint its first-ever American ambassador to the Arctic region, a State Department official has announced, with the move coming at a time when both the Russians and the Chinese are strengthening their presence in the region.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken is soon expected to name the person intended for the post, whose nomination will then have to be approved by the U.S. Senate.

This new US ambassador will be responsible for contacts with the other seven Arctic states: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, and Russia.

The announcement comes "while Russia is strengthening its presence near the North Pole and China is building research stations in the Arctic", as the BBC notes in a report.

It will be recalled that just last week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited Canada from where he sent his own warning messages, expressing concern about Russian and Chinese moves in the North Pole region.

"In recent years, the Kremlin has built new bases there (in the Arctic region) and upgraded Soviet-era facilities, possibly to test new weapons such as supersonic missiles. Meanwhile, China now identifies itself as a near-Arctic power and is investing billions of dollars to build energy and infrastructure projects in the Arctic - including the world's largest icebreaker fleet - along with what Beijing calls the Polar Silk Road." notes an analysis by the Gzero website, highlighting how the melting ice is leading to the opening of new trade routes while allowing access to new energy-mineral resources.

For his part, however, (Norwegian) Stoltenberg calls for a comprehensive rethink of NATO's Arctic strategy, even stressing that the closest route for the Russians if they ever decided to attack North America would be through the Arctic Circle.

With information from BBC, Gzero

Cyprus  |  USA  |  Arctic  |  diplomacy

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