“As one of eight Arctic nations, the United States has long been committed to protecting our national security and economic interests in the region,” says State Department.
The United States plans to name an
ambassador-at-large for the Arctic, reflecting the region’s
growing strategic and commercial importance as its shrinking
opens up new sea lanes and vast oil and mineral resources.
In a statement on Friday, the US State Department said
President Joe Biden planned elevate the area’s importance within
the US government by nominating an ambassador-at-large for the
Arctic region, subject to the Senate’s advise and consent.
It did not say who would be nominated.
“An Arctic region that is peaceful, stable, prosperous, and
cooperative is of critical strategic importance to the United
States,” the Department said.
“As one of eight Arctic nations, the United States has long
been committed to protecting our national security and economic
interests in the region, combating climate change, fostering
sustainable development and investment, and promoting
cooperation with Arctic States, Allies, and partners,” it said.
The eight Arctic nations are Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Russia and the United States.
China’s ‘Polar Silk Road’
Russia has reopened hundreds of Soviet-era military sites in the region, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday, a day after visiting the Arctic, saying Russian capabilities there pose a strategic challenge to the 30-nation alliance.
Russia’s February 24 offensive on Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation,” has heightened Western concerns about Russian ambitions around the world.
China, which describes itself as a “near-Arctic” state, also has ambitions in the region and has said it intended to build a “Polar Silk Road.”
Countries have their eyes on mineral resources and new shipping routes as ice caps recede with rising temperatures.