Mike Pompeo's Arctic speech focuses on trade, not climate change

Katie Ramirez
May 7, 2019

The two men met on the sidelines of a meeting of the Arctic Council in Finland. Washington is also rebuilding its icebreaker fleet, expanding Coast Guard funding, and creating a new senior-level military post for Arctic affairs.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported in March 2019 that "since satellite-based measurements began in the late 1970s, Arctic sea ice extent has decreased in all months and virtually all regions, with the exception of the Bering Sea during winter".

"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.

Finland's Ambassador Aleksi Härkönen, the diplomat responsible for co-ordinating negotiations over the Arctic Council declaration, told Reuters news agency, "There are different tones with which different countries want to approach climate change".

"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 that region", Pompeo told representatives of the Arctic Council members, including Russia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. "I mean, compare it to China, compare it to Russian Federation, compare it, frankly, to many European nations, each of whom signed the Paris agreement".

"This is part of a very familiar pattern".

"The challenges in the Arctic aren't between the United States and Canada, let me assure you", he said. "Beijing attempts to develop critical infrastructure, using Chinese money, Chinese companies, and Chinese workers in some cases, to establish a permanent Chinese security presence", alluding to the communist regime's global campaign to supplant the hegemony of the United States.

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The United States is beefing up its presence in the Arctic to keep Russia's and China's "aggressive" behavior in check in the resource-rich region, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said.

While China's ambitions haven't been realized in a tangible threat in the Arctic, Russia has expanded its military presence in the region at a dramatic pace.

Under President Vladimir Putin, Moscow has beefed up its military presence in the region, reopening several bases that were abandoned after the fall of the USSR.

Military and security issues have been explicitly excluded from the Arctic Council since its founding, but Pompeo, after discussing China, also singled out Russian Federation in his speech, citing the Ukraine crisis and Russia's reopening of military bases in the North, as activity increases along the Northern Sea Route. There are Arctic states, and non-Arctic states.

He pointed to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where fighting between government forces and Russia-backed separatists has killed some 13,000 people since April 2014.

There will be no shortage of other subjects for Pompeo and Lavrov to discuss as Russian Federation and the United States remain at odds over Syria, Ukraine and nuclear arms control, as well as the detention by Russian Federation of Paul Whelan, a former USA ex-Marine, on espionage charges he denies.

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