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Arctic: find your place

Arctic: find your place

Vladimir Vasiliev, Minister for Federal Relations and External Relations of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia):

- The countries of Southeast Asia are, as a rule, rapidly developing states (especially China, which is now recognized as the first economy in the world), and they need resources. Recent data show that the Arctic, for example, has huge hydrocarbon reserves, and climate change and melting ice open up new opportunities for the development of big business and industry. At the same time, we are all well aware that the nature of the Arctic is extremely vulnerable. In order not to destroy the delicate balance that has been created in this region for millennia, when developing its territory, careful approaches, the latest nature and energy-saving technologies should be applied. Everyone is worried about this, but they are eager to get resources. Small countries may not need minerals, but they understand that when large companies come to the Arctic, infrastructure will have to be created. Singapore, by the way, ranks 4th in the world in the construction of tankers, and if we open the Northern Sea Route (NSR), the demand for such vessels will increase annually. In this, Singapore sees its place in the Arctic. Large countries - Japan, Korea, China - are fighting either for resources or for experience, knowledge, technology, etc., which they can apply in such harsh conditions for servicing the Northern Sea Route, creating infrastructure related to the transportation of goods.

How can the Arctic be divided among all? The question is extremely difficult. Each country will use its own methods of market conquest. We understand that China will always strive to use "soft power", that is, actively propose the construction of scientific stations, improvement of the infrastructure of those Arctic villages and cities that are in a rather neglected state, especially in the Russian Arctic. China has ample opportunities and experience in this direction: they are actively involved in research activities not only in the Arctic, but also in the Antarctic. Japan and Korea are also present there, but to a lesser extent. But these two countries have high-precision technologies (Samsung, Sony) and look at the Arctic from this position. The Arctic G2013 is trying to limit their influence. When at the ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council in XNUMX in Kiruna (Sweden) there was talk about giving observer status to non-Arctic countries, a serious struggle broke out. Not wishing to cause interstate conflicts, a compromise decision was made - to grant such a status to all countries that applied for it - Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, India, Italy. However, the European Union was refused because a number of European countries are already permanent members of the Arctic Council. Many European countries, of course, could be unhappy: they expected to receive an additional vote from the EU in their support. Next year, when the ministerial meeting is held in Canada, it is expected that the EU will still insist on obtaining such status. Let's see how countries' positions change.

The EU has developed its Arctic strategy and positions itself as a very strong player in this space, as if integrating strategies towards the Arctic of all its countries - not only arctic, but also southern. The EU's view that European countries should occupy one of the key positions in the Arctic as a united Europe, members of the Arctic Council, in my opinion, are not ready to accept.


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