State Department appoints Arctic chief amid tensions with China, Russia

State Department appoints Arctic chief amid tensions with China, Russia

The State Department on Wednesday announced a new coordinator for the Arctic region, shoring up its leadership to confront Russia and China in an area the Trump administration has identified as strategic for U.S. national security.

Veteran State Department official Jim DeHart will take on the role as U.S. coordinator for the Arctic, reporting directly to Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Esper says 'most believe' Beirut explosion was accident, contradicting Trump | Trump later says 'nobody knows yet' what happened in Lebanon | 61-year-old reservist ID'd as fourth military COVID-19 death Meadows defends Trump's description of Beirut explosion as an 'attack' Pompeo urges US companies to block downloads of Chinese apps MORE, and deputy secretary on all matters related to the region.

DeHart previously served as a senior advisor to the State Department’s Office of Security Negotiations and Agreements, housed in the Bureau of Political and Military Affairs. DeHart had also served as the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Oslo, Norway.

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The announcement comes following Pompeo’s visit last week to Denmark and the U.S. moving forward on opening an embassy on Greenland, a strategic Arctic island that President TrumpDonald John TrumpLincoln Project ad dubs Jared Kushner the 'Secretary of Failure' Pence: Chief Justice Roberts 'has been a disappointment to conservatives' Twitter bans Trump campaign until it deletes tweet with COVID-19 misinformation MORE once floated buying in 2019.

The Trump administration has identified the Arctic as a key area of possible confrontation with Russia and China.

Pompeo said in an interview with Danish media last week that “we’ve all been a little bit naive to watch not only the Russians but the Chinese interests there competing to become more aggressive.”