US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Russia and China are showing “aggressive behavior” in the Arctic.
He stated this on the eve of the meeting of foreign ministers of the countries of the Arctic Council.
According to Pompeo, the United States will strengthen its presence in the Arctic and will oppose attempts to make this territory a strategic zone of China or the Russian Federation. He stressed that the Arctic should remain exclusively peaceful territory, and not a place where lawlessness flourishes.
The Secretary of State specifically noted that China, unlike Russia, does not have the right to call itself “an almost Arctic state.”
“There are only Arctic and non-Arctic states. There is no third category,” he said, “And China’s attempts to intervene in the region through large infrastructure projects and investments should be checked.”
Pompeo also warned that Russia’s intentions in the Arctic, where it is conducting a massive expansion of military activities, could be destabilizing.
“We know that Russia’s territorial ambitions may turn into violence,” he said, pointing to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
The Arctic Council includes Russia, Canada, USA, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Iceland and Sweden. Another six countries – China, India, South Korea, Singapore, Italy and Japan – have observer status. Among other things, the Council deals with environmental protection at the North Pole and climate issues.