On 6 May , U. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told China and Russia to stop their aggressive behaviour in the Arctic in a very blunt manner at a meeting in the Arctic Council. His speech triggered a shower of criticism because he broke the rules stipulating that one cannot discuss security and defence issues in the Arctic Council. Pompeo has been widely attacked for starting a Cold War in the Arctic and threatening its exceptional status as an area of low-tension and cooperation.
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On 6 May , U. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told China and Russia to stop their aggressive behaviour in the Arctic in a very blunt manner at a meeting in the Arctic Council.
His speech triggered a shower of criticism because he broke the rules stipulating that one cannot discuss security and defence issues in the Arctic Council. Pompeo has been widely attacked for starting a Cold War in the Arctic and threatening its exceptional status as an area of low-tension and cooperation.
This is ludicrous. Pompeo merely pointed out that China and Russia are taking steps in the Arctic that may trigger a Cold War in the longer term. It is not the first time that policy makers and analysts cry wolf in the Arctic. This act also got the attention of Denmark and Greenland.
The governments in Copenhagen and Nuuk reacted by launching a diplomatic process, which led to the adoption of the Ilulissat Declaration by the five Arctic coastal states in In this declaration, the Arctic Coastal States made a commitment to solve their territorial disputes through international law and by peaceful means, strengthen practical cooperation with respect to safety of navigation, search and rescue, environmental monitoring and disaster response and scientific cooperation.
In addition, they rejected the call for a new comprehensive international legal regime to govern the Arctic Ocean. The Ilulissat Declaration was a great success. It halted the growing tensions among the five coastal states and laid the foundation for cooperation in the Arctic, which has survived the confrontations between Russia and the Western coastal states in other parts of the globe. Chinese investments and ambitions in the Arctic have grown in tandem with its political, economic and military rise in the past twenty years.
Since when China acquired the Snow Dragon Xuelong , its first icebreaker, it has established itself as an Arctic research nation by means of scientific expeditions, the establishment of research stations and international cooperation. The launch of the Snow Dragon II in will strengthen these activities further.
Chinese businessmen have followed in the footsteps of the scientists with offers of investments, free-trade agreements and joint ventures with local firms in the strategic sectors of energy, infrastructure, and mining. China cannot press its demands in the Arctic with military means yet. However, it is building a blue-water navy which will enable it to do so in the longer term. Currently, China is establishing naval bases to protect the sea lines of communication between China and Africa.
Nothing suggests that China will not do the same in the Arctic: first scientists, then businessmen and finally military forces when the necessary capacity has been created.
None of them can do it alone. Their common interest could form the basis for a new Ilulissat Declaration on security and defence. From the perspective of Copenhagen and Nuuk, defence and security cooperation among the five Artic coastal states would have major advantages. It would make it much easier for Denmark and Greenland to withstand Chinese pressure and Panda-diplomacy if they could refer to a set of common rules for scientific, economic and military activities in the Arctic that had American and Russian backing.
It would also make it harder for Beijing to play Copenhagen and Nuuk off against each other. Expanded cooperation could serve as a basis for improving the relationship between Russia and the four Western coastal states. This negative spiral must be stopped. Clear rules guiding military activities and Western economic investments in the Russian part of the Arctic would help to do so by increasing transparency, trust and reducing the Russian dependence on Chinese money. Increased Western pressure on Russia in the Arctic will force Moscow into the arms of Beijing for lack of an alternative.
We are moving towards a new world order characterized by a high degree of political and economic rivalry between China and the United States. In this order it is of great strategic importance for the West to establish an interest-based relationship with Russia.
The Arctic is the best place to start the process of building such a relationship, because the United States and Russia share a common interest in preventing China from claiming some of the territory and the natural resources that will become theirs if the rules laid down by the current Ilulissat Declaration are upheld.
Back then, Copenhagen and Nuuk seized the opportunity. They should do so again. EU and NATO with never be of much use because most of their member states have no interest in supporting policy that may anger Beijing. Only the five coastal states have interests that are sufficiently strong to make it worth their while. It is important to act now for three reasons. The third reason is that the lack of a meaningful dialogue on security and defence has been a source of growing frustration between Nuuk and Copenhagen in recent years.
The launch of a new Ilulissat-initiative would give both governments a concrete common goal to aim for in their efforts to establish such a dialogue. Several political parties have stated their intention to improve the dialogue on security and defence between Copenhagen and Nuuk in their campaigns for the general election on 5 June. Op-ed first published in Danish in the daily Jyllands- Posten, 1 June A new Ilulissat Declaration on security and defence is needed in the Arctic.
Peter Viggo Jakobsen. Back to
Ilulissat Two: Why Greenland and Denmark are inviting Arctic governments back this May
In , the signing of the Ilulissat Declaration poured cold water on the rhetorical escalation in the wake of the in famous Russian flag planting on the geographical North Pole seabed. Ten years later, the Arctic states are celebrating the achievement with a 2-day meeting in Ilulissat. On the first day, sustainable economic development was on top of the agenda. After a long flight to Ilulissat, the delegations continued to nearby Ilimanaq where they had a smooth beginning in the picturesque surroundings. While already being a small tourist magnet, this is probably going to boost the interest in sustainable Arctic tourism with respect for both nature and traditional culture even more. The first gathering of the anniversary took place inside one of the restored buildings.
The Ilulissat Declaration was announced on May 28, by the five coastal states of the Arctic Ocean United States, Russia, Canada, Norway and The Kingdom of Denmark , meeting at the political level during the Arctic Ocean Conference in Ilulissat , Greenland to discuss the Arctic ocean , climate change , the protection of the marine environment, maritime safety, and division of emergency responsibilities if new shipping routes are opened. One of the chief goals written into the declaration was blockage of any "new comprehensive international legal regime to govern the Arctic Ocean". Because the objective of the meeting was to discuss legal regimes and jurisdictional issues in the Arctic Ocean, only the five coastal states of that ocean were invited. These three states are therefore not a party to the Ilulissat Declaration. Likewise, the Arctic indigenous peoples, who have a prominent position within the Arctic Council, were not involved in the Ilulissat negotiations. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Archived from the original PDF on 10 March
A new Ilulissat Declaration on security and defence is needed in the Arctic
It is in our clear interest to maintain this situation. In other parts of the world, the Arctic States are involved in critical conflicts on different sides. We can be very pleased that we managed to maintain the dialogue and the cooperation in the Arctic. We need stay on this path — and this is where the Ilulissat Declaration plays a key role.