Foreign Policy Blogs

Arctic

East Asian Diplomacy in the Arctic

East Asian Diplomacy in the Arctic

The chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, Yu Zhengsheng, visited Finland, Sweden, and Denmark earlier this month. In Finland, the president and CEO of the Confederation of Finnish Industries (E.K.), Jyri Häkämies, expressed that the two countries’ expertises are complementary. Elaborating on this point, he suggested that the two countries should […]

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Two Arctic research institutes to open, while a third comes closer to reality

Two Arctic research institutes to open, while a third comes closer to reality

On the heels of the opening of the Arctic Council’s Permanent Secretariat in Tromsø, Norway, two new Arctic research centers in China and Russia have been announced while one in Canada has made progress towards becoming reality. China-Nordic Arctic Research Institute First, Chinese and Nordic representatives announced plans to establish the China-Nordic Arctic Research Institute. University […]

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Permanent Arctic Council Secretariat opens in Tromso, strengthening Norway’s position in Arctic

Permanent Arctic Council Secretariat opens in Tromso, strengthening Norway’s position in Arctic

The Arctic Council, the most important multilateral organization in the circumpolar north, opened the offices for its permanent secretariat in Tromsø, Norway on Monday. This is an important moment for the now 17 year-old body because it visibly signifies to the rest of the world that the Arctic Council exists outside of the ethereal alphabet […]

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The Contested Space of NATO in the Arctic

The Contested Space of NATO in the Arctic

DefenseNews has a thought-provoking analysis of NATO’s announcement earlier this month that it had no plans to establish a direct presence in the Arctic. On May 6 and 7, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and ambassadors from the North Atlantic Council visited Bodø, Norway, where the Norwegian Armed Forces’ operational command center is located. Rasmussen […]

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Analysis: The Arctic Council’s Kiruna Vision

Analysis: The Arctic Council’s Kiruna Vision

  During the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Kiruna, Sweden last Wednesday, the body’s Secretariat released the “Vision for the Arctic” (PDF). The Secretariat is composed of the eight Arctic States together with the six permanent participants, the Arctic Indigenous Peoples’ Organizations.  The vision has seven sections, which I analyze below. The document’s introduction describes how […]

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Asian States Admitted to Arctic Council, EU Forced to Wait, and Greenland Boycotts

Asian States Admitted to Arctic Council, EU Forced to Wait, and Greenland Boycotts

Asia in, EU not yet China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, India and Italy have all been admitted as permanent observer states to the Arctic Council, while the EU will have to wait. Though technically admitted, it still must work out its differences with Canada. Countries are admitted as permanent observer states by consensus between the […]

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Arctic Council Meeting Tomorrow: Who and What to Follow

Arctic Council Meeting Tomorrow: Who and What to Follow

Every two years, the Arctic Council (AC) Ministerial Meeting convenes in a city in the host country. The last meeting was in Nuuk, Greenland, and tomorrow morning, the AC will meet in Kiruna, Sweden. After the short two-hour meeting, the chairmanship will rotate to Canada. The entire meeting will be webcast on the Arctic Council’s […]

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White House releases national Arctic strategy

White House releases national Arctic strategy

“We in the lower forty-eight and Hawaii join Alaska’s residents in recognizing one simple truth that the Arctic is an amazing place.” That’s how U.S. President Barack Obama begins his written statement on the first page of the National Strategy for the Arctic Region (PDF), which the White House has just released ahead of next week’s […]

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Maine: The next near-Arctic state?

Maine: The next near-Arctic state?

Yesterday, I mentioned in a blog post that Eimskip, the Icelandic shipping company, recently moved its North American hub from Norfolk, Virginia to Portland, Maine. This will be the American port’s first direct connection to Europe in 33 years, according to an excellent, fact-filled article in the Press Herald, a local newspaper. Eimskip’s decision is in line […]

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Iceland’s Election: What does it mean for the Arctic?

Iceland’s Election: What does it mean for the Arctic?

On Saturday’s parliamentary elections in Iceland, two center-right parties seized power from the incumbent Social Democrats. Iceland Review states that the Independence Party won a reported 28.5 percent of the vote, while the Progressive Party won 25.2 percent. What does this mean for Iceland’s Arctic strategy and the region at large? The EU dimension First of […]

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Iceland president says Arctic lacks ‘effective governance’; launches Arctic Circle

Iceland president says Arctic lacks ‘effective governance’; launches Arctic Circle

In a subtle swipe at the Arctic Council, Icelandic President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson criticized, “The Arctic has suffered from a lack of global awareness and, as a result, a lack of effective governance.” Ostensibly believing that the Arctic Council is inadequate, Grímsson launched the possibly rival Arctic Circle in Washington, D.C earlier this month. ” The formation of this […]

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Alaskan Senator Mark Begich advocates creating U.S. Arctic ambassador

Alaskan Senator Mark Begich advocates creating U.S. Arctic ambassador

  Last month, I discussed Japan’s designation of Masuo Nishibayashi as Arctic Ambassador — the second Asian country to create such a position. While Japan joins Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Russia and Singapore as countries with Arctic ambassadors or equivalent positions, the United States still does not have a similar role. Canada once had an Ambassador […]

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At IMO Polar Code meeting, Canada calls for zero discharge in Arctic

At IMO Polar Code meeting, Canada calls for zero discharge in Arctic

There’s been a lot of developments in Arctic shipping lately, particularly in light of the study by members of UCLA’s Geography Department forecasting new trans-Arctic routes to become navigable by mid-century. With the possibility of more ships transiting the Arctic, it’s imperative that a Polar Code be developed. Shipping in the poles might be increasing quickly, […]

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Ahead of Arctic Council meeting, Japan appoints Arctic Ambassador

Ahead of Arctic Council meeting, Japan appoints Arctic Ambassador

Japan has appointed an Arctic Ambassador, a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs states. Masuo Nishibayashi is already the Ambassador in charge of Cultural Exchange, so he will now fill two roles simultaneously. Nishibayashi joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1983 and has spent most of his career in the Americas. He has […]

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The Northern Sea Route: An Iceland-China Link

The Northern Sea Route: An Iceland-China Link

Coming on the heels of a UCLA study reporting that new trans-Arctic routes could be open to shipping by mid-century, Huigen Yang, the Director Polar Research Institute of China, met with Iceland’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Össur Skarphéðinsson, on March 15 to discuss northern shipping. Both countries stand to benefit if the Northern Sea Route is developed: China, […]

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