Pompeo: Russia is “aggressive” in Arctic, China’s work there also needs watching
At a meeting of the Arctic Council, which consists of the United States, Canada, Russia, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and representatives of the region’s indigenous populations, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday criticized Russian and Chinese activity in the region.
While China doesn’t have any territory in the region, the country has been working to increase its influence in the region through investments and research projects. Pompeo stated that “[t]he United States and Arctic nations welcome transparent Chinese investment that reflect economic interests, not national security ambitions,” and urged the council member states to closely monitor China’s activity in the region, warning that “China’s pattern of aggressive behavior elsewhere will inform how it treats the Arctic.”
Pompeo also went after Russia, slamming a new Russian policy that demands international naval ships to notify the Kremlin of journeys along the Northern Sea Route, requires foreign vessels to take Russian maritime pilots aboard and states that vessels that violate it may be “eliminated” under certain circumstances. The US Secretary of State said that this policy described “a pattern of aggressive Russian behavior in the Arctic.”
The members of the Arctic Council and other countries are looking to increase their presence in the region because it is thought to contain massive undiscovered reserves of fossil fuels and valuable minerals.