In the US there will be an ambassador-at-large for the Arctic region
In the United States, the creation of an envoy on special assignments in the Arctic was announced Friday. This is needed to boost U.S. diplomacy in the region as Russia and China expand their presence in waters opened up by the planet’s climate change.
In the near future, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will name someone to be appointed on behalf of America to deal with other Arctic countries, indigenous groups and other stakeholders. Vedant Patel, a spokesman for the United States Department of Foreign Affairs, said.
“The Arctic region, which is peaceful, stable, prosperous and suitable for cooperation, is of critical strategic importance to the United States and is a priority for Secretary Blinken,” Patel said.
The results of global warming are spreading across the Arctic far more widely than in other parts of the planet, raising the possibility that impassable waterways will one day open, free of ice, to both commercial and military vessels.
Russia is already increasing its presence near the North Pole, using both submarines and combat aircraft, while China is building research stations in the Arctic, in what many experts see as a “prelude” to a larger Chinese presence in the region.
At last year’s Arctic Council meeting in Iceland, Anthony Blinken said that the region’s countries were “responsible” for ensuring “peaceful cooperation” in the Arctic.
The announcement of the new U.S. special commissioner came as negotiations on Arctic issues began in Greenland.
Earlier this year, seven of the eight Arctic Council countries suspended their participation in the organization because the chairmanship periodically (alternately) falls to Russia. The move by the seven countries of the Council was an expression of ostracism toward Russia because of the Western countries’ aversion to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The position of Ambassador-at-Large will replace that of U.S. Arctic coordinator, held by career diplomat Jim DeHart.