US to name Arctic ambassador eying Russia and China

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 ice opens up new sea lanes and vast oil and mineral resources.

“An Arctic region that is peaceful, stable, prosperous, and cooperative is of critical strategic importance to the United States,” the US Department of State 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.

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.



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