Pompeo to label Arctic 'an arena of global power and competition': report

Pompeo to label Arctic 'an arena of global power and competition': report
© Stefani Reynolds

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoFive takeaways from ex-ambassador's dramatic testimony Pompeo: No US response ruled out in Hong Kong Ousted ambassador describes State Department in 'crisis' in dramatic impeachment testimony MORE is reportedly set to label the Arctic as “an arena of global power and competition” during a speech Monday in Finland.

“Just because the Arctic is a place of wilderness does not mean it should become a place of lawlessness,” Pompeo will say in an address to the Arctic Council, according to Politico.

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The Arctic Council consists of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States, with China being granted observer status on the council in 2013.

While Pompeo is set to meet with officials from seven other countries who control some territory in the Arctic, his central message will be  reportedly directed toward Russia and China, particularly noting China’s recent push to use the region to advance its agenda.

“Do we want the Arctic Ocean to transform into a new South China Sea, fraught with militarization and competing territorial claims?” Pompeo will ask, Politico, which obtained excerpts of his speech in advance, noted.

The South China Sea has recently become an area of tension between the U.S. and China, with both countries deploying warships at times to send messages to one another.

A senior State Department official told Politico the Arctic has been an area of interest for other countries for some time, but “the prior administration didn’t raise the alarm. It’s been building up over many, many years because Russia and China saw a power vacuum.”

Russia currently controls large portions of the Arctic, the news outlet noted, adding that China has recently become a more prominent player, labeling itself as a “near-Arctic” country, a classification the U.S. refutes.