The Race for the ARCTIC

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by A.V., Mar 29, 2009.

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Who has a headstart for the artic race?

  1. Russia

    18 vote(s)
    75.0%
  2. Canada

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. NATO and Europe

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Artic should be military free.

    6 vote(s)
    25.0%
  1. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    the race for the arctic resources has already begun with russia looking to deploy special forces and canada arranging the military accordingly, what will be the us stand, will europe stay quiet on this.
    reply to the poll with your views.
     
  2.  
  3. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Mod you have missed a C in arctic.
    But yes with it's untapped oil reserves it is going to be a flaspoint in the future.
    That will surely ruin the environment out there which should be a cause for concern for the international community.As it is the arctic region is melting due to global warming.
    But Russia surely will have a lead in the march towards there.
     
  4. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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    thanks a lot yusuf i corrected the spelling.
     
  5. Payeng

    Payeng Daku Mongol Singh

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    Russia's dominance of Arctic region is not new. since cold war Russia had places SSBN's in the arctic region to counter any American misadventure.
     
  6. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Artic treaty nations


    [​IMG]
     
  7. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/23/opinion/23bellinger.html

    Treaty on Ice


    Article Tools Sponsored By
    By JOHN B. BELLINGER
    Published: June 23, 2008

    Washington

    WITH the Arctic ice melting, anticipated increases in Arctic shipping, tourism and economic activity, and Russia’s flag-planting at the North Pole last summer, there has been much talk in the press about a “race to the Arctic” and even some calls for a new treaty to govern the “lawless” Arctic region.

    We should all cool down. While there may be a need to expand cooperation in some areas, like search and rescue, there is already an extensive legal framework governing the region. The five countries bordering the Arctic Ocean — the United States, Canada, Denmark, Norway and Russia — have made clear their commitment to observe these international legal rules. In fact, top officials from these nations met last month in Greenland to acknowledge their role in protecting the Arctic Ocean and to put to rest the notion that there is a Wild West-type rush to claim and plunder its natural resources.

    Existing international law already provides a comprehensive set of rules governing use of the world’s oceans, including the Arctic. The law enshrines navigational rights and freedoms for military and commercial vessels. It also specifies the rights of coastal nations in offshore marine areas. Setting aside the unfortunate flag-planting on the North Pole (a stunt with no legal significance), Russia has been following international procedures for identifying the legal extent of its boundaries, including its continental shelf.

    Other solid international rules also apply in the Arctic. In instances where the maritime claims of coastal nations overlap, international law sets forth principles for them to apply in resolving their disputes. As for protecting the marine environment, the law spells out both national and internationally agreed pollution control measures.

    As one example, the United Nations’ International Maritime Organization has produced treaties that limit pollution from various sources, including ships and ocean dumping. It has also developed safety guidelines for ship operations in hard-to-navigate ice-covered areas. What’s more, the Arctic Council, an eight-nation diplomatic forum, is working to strengthen its already existing guidelines on oil and gas activities.

    Some nongovernmental organizations and academics say that we need an “Arctic treaty” along the lines of the treaty system that governs Antarctica. Though it sounds nice, such a treaty would be unnecessary and inappropriate. The situations in the Arctic and the Antarctic are hardly analogous. The Antarctic Treaty, signed in 1959, governs a continent surrounded by oceans — a place where it was necessary to suspend claims to sovereignty in order to promote peace and scientific research. The Arctic, by contrast, is an ocean surrounded by continents. Its ocean is already subject to international rules, including rules related to marine scientific research, and its land has long been divided up, so there are few disputes over boundaries.

    So what should the United States do about the Arctic? For starters, it should do nothing to advance a new comprehensive treaty for the region. Instead, it should take full advantage of the existing rules by joining the Law of the Sea Convention. The convention, now before the Senate, would codify and maximize international recognition of United States rights to one of the largest and most resource-rich continental shelves in the world — extending at least 600 miles off Alaska.

    Canada, Denmark, Norway and Russia are parties to the convention and they are already acting to protect and maximize their rights. The United States should do the same. Signing on would do much more to protect American security and interests in the Arctic than pursuing the possibility of a treaty that we really don’t need.

    John B. Bellinger is the legal adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.


    Just like militarization of space USA does not want a treaty for Artic
     
  8. shiv

    shiv Regular Member

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    is there an ARctic left to be exploited??
     
  9. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Artic is untouched there are estimates of 90 billion barrels of oil alone as one resource alone.

    http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=1980

    90 Billion Barrels of Oil and 1,670 Trillion Cubic Feet of Natural Gas Assessed in the Arctic
    Released: 7/23/2008 1:00:00 PM

    The area north of the Arctic Circle has an estimated 90 billion barrels of undiscovered, technically recoverable oil, 1,670 trillion cubic feet of technically recoverable natural gas, and 44 billion barrels of technically recoverable natural gas liquids in 25 geologically defined areas thought to have potential for petroleum.

    The U.S. Geological Survey assessment released today is the first publicly available petroleum resource estimate of the entire area north of the Arctic Circle.
     
  10. Auberon

    Auberon Regular Member

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    I voted for Russia but I think the options listed are flawed. Who has a headstart is a strictly factual question, but the last option - Arctic should remain military free is based on perceptive personal opinion, if personal opinion is to be considered, then the poll should be - Who do you wish had a headstart for the Arctic?
     
  11. A.V.

    A.V. New Member

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  12. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    russia - Google News

    Russia firm on Arctic claims minus military
    Thu, 30 Apr 2009 06:44:17 GMT

    Russian has ruled out plans to surge its military presence in the Arctic, emphasizing Moscow's opposition to militarization of the region.

    "We are not planning to increase our military presence in the Arctic and to deploy armed forces there," Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said following a ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council in Norway's Tromso.

    "The decisions taken provide for strengthening the potential of the coast guard," a move needed because the melting ice cap is leading to more human activity in the region, he added.

    On its website, the Russian Security Council outlined last month Kremlin's strategy in the region, including deployment of military and security units "to guarantee Russia's military security in diverse military and political circumstances."

    The document, entitled "The Fundamentals of Russian State Policy in the Arctic up to 2020 and beyond", said Russia also planned to create an "actively functioning system of the Federal Security Service coastal guard".

    This is while countries bordering the resource-rich Arctic region are rushing to make territorial claims in the Arctic as the glacial region is increasingly becoming accessible as climate change melts the ice cap.

    On Wednesday, Lavrov reiterated the position Russia had announced following the website post in March, saying Moscow did not plan to militarize the Arctic.

    "The existing legislation in the world allows (us) to deal successfully with all issues which might arise," he said, referring to the Convention on the Law of the Sea, adopted in 1982, which regulates issues such as territorial claims and management of the seas.

    The melting ice will help extract an estimated 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil reserves and 30 percent of its undiscovered natural gas locked up in the region, while opening up shorter shipping routes -- for instance between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

    Canada, Russia, the United States, Norway and Denmark have so far laid claims to the regio
     
  13. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    http://www.spacewar.com/reports/There_Is_No_Race_For_The_Arctic_999.html

    There Is No Race For The Arctic


    Willy Ostreng, Professor and Chairman of the Research Institute Ocean Futures from Oslo, Norway, discusses the Arctic's natural resources and heated issues in the region with RIA Novosti correspondent Ivan Sotnikov.

    Can we say that there is a "Race for the Arctic" today?

    In my mind, there is no serious Race for the Arctic. This is to a large extent a misconception created mostly by media. In light of the sea ice melt, what we see these days, and probably will see more of in the future, is a steadily mounting multilateral interest for the rich deposits of Arctic resources, in particular oil and gas.

    The very concept of a Race presupposes that there is something to race for - something that does not belong to anybody and that will be the property of the first party to cross the finish line - and that will happen at the expense of the other "runners." But what is there to be acquired in the Arctic that does not already belong to someone, and who are the runners? When it comes to resources, the ownership is already settled in compliance with international law.

    The resources located on land and on the continental shelf , or 350 n.m from the baselines, are the possessions of the coastal states. Within the continental shelves there are two kinds of sea bed areas that still have an uncertain status and that may contain resources of a certain value. The first seabed area concerns the location of the boundaries between the continental shelf and the deep sea bed of the Central Arctic Basin.

    Here all coastal states apply the rules and procedures prescribed in the Law of the Sea Convention of 1982 and use the to help out. This is not a matter of politics and/or resource race, but a matter of submitting sufficient geological quality data to the UN Continental Shelf Commission, which will help out in defining the exact border. The other uncertainties remaining relate to the sea bed areas between adjacent states, for instance in the Barents Sea between Norway and Russia.

    The two countries have been negotiating on and off to find a delimitation line for 36 years without yet reaching full agreement. The parties claim that they agree on approximately 80% of the delimitation line, and that none of them are in a hurry to find a solution. What both parties apply is patience, a lot of time and the strategy of small steps.

    The same applies to most of the other outstanding border disputes in the Arctic Ocean waiting for a final solution. If this is a race for resources, it is the race of turtles, not of hares. When the parties reach a final agreement they have shared the disputed area and non-Arctic-states have no access unless they are invited to take part by the coastal states.

    The only seabed area that do not sort under national jurisdiction is located to the Central Arctic Basin which according to the Law of the Sea Conventions, is the common heritage of mankind - the collective property of humankind - an area belonging to all. Why race to an area that you already have a share in, that will not be open for resource exploration and exploitation for decade to come due to the ice cover and that is poorly researched when it comes to resources?

    In short: The bulk of Arctic resources already sort under national jurisdiction. Access to these resources for third parties can only be achieved through cooperation with the proprietors of the resources. This does not an invitation for a race, but for international cooperation.

    Do some countries actually try to limit Russian activity in the Arctic?

    I see no state trying to limit Russian activities in the Arctic. This is so because all states see it in their national interest to keep the conflict potential under control to be able to harvest resources that are strategically important to their own national well-being. This is not to say that conflicts can not flare up and hamper resource exploitation in the future.

    But if conflicts take front stage in Arctic politics it is because two or more states cannot agree on a specific topic, and not because some states per se are out to limit Russian activities in the region. One conflict prone area concerns the legal status of the Northern Sea Route and the Northwest Passage of which the Arctic states have different views.

    Freedom of navigation and transit passage is here up against national control in waters claimed to be internal. To sort these differences out require fine tuned politics, subtle diplomacy, and a willingness of all parties to find pragmatic solutions.

    What kind of instruments can be used by each of the five countries for upholding their interests in the region?

    The short answer can be divided in three:

    1. Through international cooperation and diplomacy in regional organs like the Arctic Council, the Euro-Arctic Barents Region, Northern Forum etc.

    2. through bilateral cooperation to resolve outstanding questions between neighbours, in particular to reach agreement on delimitation issues, and to handle border crossing issue (fish stock management, rescue, environment etc.).

    3. Strengthen the position of the International Maritime Organization to standardize rules for shipping in ice-infested waters and make them mandatory through international agreements and conventions.

    In particular, I think there is a pressing need to strengthen the position of the Arctic Council by broadening its agenda to discuss and eventually resolve problems of a circumpolar character and challenges of a cross border nature shared by all littoral states. Since sub-regions of the Arctic may contain special challenges between two or more countries, sub-regional organs like the Barents-Euro Arctic Region may serve a similar role as that of the Arctic Council, but on a sub-regional level

    Recently it is said that China has possible strategic interests in the Arctic region. Do you think China can put (this policy) into practice?

    China is a leading blue water shipping nation and has for the last ten years had a global strategy to quench her industrial needs for more oil and gas. Nearly half of China's gross domestic product (GDP) is thought to be dependent on shipping. In the period 1993-2006, Chinese oil companies invested in 120 projects all over the world to a value of more than 27 billion dollars.

    Big surplus on the trade balance still makes it possible for the Chinese government to further its foreign investment policy in spite of world wide financial crises. This ability also applies to the Arctic.

    Although, Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hu Zhengyue claims that China does not have an Arctic strategy, it appears that she has an Arctic agenda. Expert opinion is that China can be expected to seek a role in determining the political framework and legal foundation of future Arctic activities.

    The prospects of the Arctic being navigable during more months of the year, leading to both shorter shipping routes and access to untapped energy resources, has impelled the Chinese government to allocate more resources to Arctic research. China - as a non-Arctic country - has one of the world's strongest polar scientific capabilities to be applied to the Arctic.

    Since 1984 China has organized 26 expeditions and established 3 research stations in Antarctica. Her first Arctic research expedition by sea took place in 1999, and since then China has carried out two more expeditions, in 2003 and 2008, with a fourth planned for the summer of 2010. In October 2009 the State Council decided to replace the vessel they used for these expeditions because it no longer met the demand's of the country's expanding polar research.

    The decision is to build a new high tech polar expedition icebreaker at the cost of 300 million US dollars. This vessel is expected to be operational in 2013. China's first Arctic research station was founded at Ny Ã…lesund in Svalbard in July 2004.To secure her national interests in the High North, the Chinese government in 2007 launched a national research program covering 10 Arctic projects of geopolitical interest: the Arctic and human society, Arctic resources and their exploitation, Arctic scientific research, Arctic transportation, Arctic law, Arctic politics and diplomacy, military factors in the Arctic, China's Arctic activities, Arctic's strategic position, and China's Arctic policy and recommendations.

    The program was completed in 2009, but the reports have not been made public. Vice Premier, Li Keqiang in a recent speech urged Chinese scientists to continue to push forward in polar and oceanic exploration to serve the county's modernization drive because the oceans has become an important source of natural resources.

    This being said, to date China has adopted a wait-and-see approach to Arctic developments, wary that active overtures would cause alarm in other countries due to China's size and status as a rising global power. The Chinese interest in the Arctic is basically related to the exploitation of resource to be fed into here rapidly expanding economy. To do this she needs to cooperate with the coastal states of the region - with those owing the resources and managing the waterways.

    What other countries can also declare its claims for the Arctic region and what will be the result of their activity?

    As of the present, the Arctic five are the only states that have a legal foundation to make sovereignty claims in the High North. Or expressed differently: There are no more territories - neither land nor ocean - to be claimed by anyone anymore; What could be claimed has been claimed.

    If the unlikely event should occur that some extraterritorial states would claim sovereignty in the Arctic they would have to claim it at the expense of the Arctic five. In such an event, conflict is unavoidable, and therefore not a very likely scenario. The sovereignty exercised over land and seabed in the region are no longer objects of disputes.

    The ocean space automatically available to non-Arctic states are the High Seas of the Arctic Ocean and the seabed in the Central Arctic Basin. In so called national waters - internal waters, territorial waters, contiguous zones and 200 miles Economic zones - coastal state jurisdiction applies in varying degrees as specified in the Law of the Convention of 1982. The only contentious sovereignty issues in the Arctic relate to the legal status of respectively the Northern Sea Route and the Northwest Passage.

    What is your opinion on the solution of the "Arctic question" to be acceptable to all interested countries?

    I am not quite sure what you mean by the notion of the "Arctic question." If the reference is to the race for Arctic resources, the answer is simple: There is no race. If the reference is to the mounting interest of non-Arctic states for regional resources, their only access to these resources goes through cooperation with the proprietors of the resources, i.e. with the coastal states, the Arctic five.

    The real challenge, or if you want the "Arctic question" is to get away from the residues of the Cold War and to form a cooperative governance system for the Arctic region as such to be able to manage cross-border problems and challenges in an effective manner.

    This means to strengthen regional cooperation on three levels: bilaterally, sub-regionally and pan-regionally without interfering negatively on issues that are domestic according to international law. This is the best way to create a win-win situation for all interested parties.

    The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.
     
  14. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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  15. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    http://www.politico.eu/article/china-and-india-go-arctic-sanctions-gas-oil-exploration-lng/

    China and india go Arctic



    The two Asian economies are spreading their wings in unlikely places.

    This became India’s first consortium investment in oil and gas outside its borders, and today the project is providing rich dividends for the company along with its other operating partners. In 2008, OVL spent more than $2.5 billion buying Imperial Energy Plc, a U.K. listed firm with energy interests in sub-Arctic Siberia. However, the investment has been an underperforming one due to the fall in global oil prices, low output and high taxation by Moscow.

    Both India and China are now observing members of the Arctic Council. While mostly ceremonial, this illustrates how the two Asian economies are spreading their wings in unlikely places. While India still maintains that its interests in the Arctic are largely scientific, China has taken a more assertive stance, referring to itself as a “near Arctic state.” It is reportedly building up to 12 new specialized ice-breaker ships for use in both the Arctic and Antarctic.

    China’s CNPC and Rosneft already have a 25-year oil-for-cash agreement which could also include certain fields in the Arctic. Even as media reports portray the region as a “race” between Arctic states to stake claim on the mineral resources, the jury is still out on how lucrative and viable the Arctic is for exploration and production companies.

    Iceberg ahoy
    Many researchers suggest that global oil companies will not look toward the Arctic as a mass production region just yet.

    Garca Ermida, of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary, in Canada, suggests that companies vying for what is possibly the biggest asset in the Arctic — natural gas — would still pick the political risks involved in extracting in places such as Iran, Qatar, other Middle East and North African states, as well as in sub-Saharan Africa, rather than the Arctic.

    The challenges of the Arctic listed by Ermida include inaccurate geological data; unreliable communications; and the melting of polar icecaps sending large floating icebergs adrift (other researchers dispute this point saying technology, while expensive, is available to tackle this issue); along with a general harsh operating climate.

    The question that arises next is whether India and China, whose 2.7 billion people have a voracious appetite for energy, but which also share a contentious land border and harbor a mistrust of each other, can cooperate on international economic deals such as those in the oil and gas sector. The answer is yes, and they have been doing it successfully for a long time in the Middle East and Africa. Indian companies along with the Chinese have been part of oil consortiums in Sudan and Syria, with the latter investment being temporarily abandoned due to the civil war in the country.

    India’s Minister of Commerce and Industry, Nirmala Sitharaman, led the Indian delegation to the St Petersburg Economic Forum in June, and one of the first industries she highlighted for Indo-Russian investment and partnership was oil and gas.

    Even as ties between Delhi and Moscow have suffered setbacks in recent years — with the end of the Cold War and India’s increasingly close ties with Washington altering old strategic calculations — there is a renewed effort to bring the historic relationship back on track. Partnering with China, which would bring in both financial heft and a technological edge, could be a win-win situation for all three nations. That is the view in New Delhi, Moscow and Beijing, and the energy world is taking notice.

    Kabir Taneja specializes in South Asian foreign affairs, energy security and defense. He is currently a Visiting Researcher with the Fridtjof Nansen Institute in Oslo, Norway.

    This article was updated to clarify India and China’s status as observing members of the Arctic Council.
     

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