Will China Freeze America Out of the Arctic?

The National Interest published an article titled, “Will China Freeze America Out of the Arctic?”. The article reads in part as follows:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo openly challenged China’s and Russian’s Arctic intentions at the May 2019 Arctic Council Meeting in Rovaniemi, Finland. This marked a dramatic rhetorical shift in the usual diplomatic line that the United States regarded the Arctic as a venue for cooperation and research and that climate change is the clear and present danger to Arctic security. Climate change unquestionably is altering the Arctic landscape and will have long term effects. However, Pompeo’s statement was a significant expansion of the warning by former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that the United States is “late to the game” in the Arctic and needs to start making policy, security, and economic investments in the Arctic or be left on the sidelines. Even though Pompeo did not suggest that the Arctic Council should take any particular action(s), it was clear that the Trump administration was not satisfied with what was happening in the far North.

Pompeo issued a blunt rebuke of China’s recent declaration that it is a “near Arctic” state and Russia’s territorial ambitions vis-à-vis its Northern Sea route and its expansion of bases. Evidently, his speech writers had listened to what analysts were saying about the Arctic Council’s passive approach to Arctic governance. They aired concern that the rapid expansion of economic activity in the region threatened that the council would “fall victim to subversion” from influences inside of the Arctic (Russia) and non-Arctic States (China).

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