America is once again taking aim at China—this time in the Arctic.
That’s according to remarks delivered by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Finland Monday. Pompeo, leading a State Department delegation in the Scandinavian country for meetings with the Arctic Council, said in a speech that the North Pole region must be protected from “lawlessness.”
The council comprises the U.S., Russia, Finland, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. China has had an observer status since 2013.
The secretary’s comments appeared aimed primarily at Russia and China, according to reporting from Politico, with “special emphasis on Chinese behavior.”
“Do we want the Arctic Ocean to transform into a new South China Sea, fraught with militarization and competing territorial claims?” Pompeo asked the council.
A defense official from U.S. European Command, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Stars and Stripes that they found the threat posed by China to American interests in the Arctic concerning. The official cited Chinese purchases of disused mines in Greenland as part of a push that appears aimed at using economic power to develop access to the North Pole.
“Why is China buying a mine that hasn’t been productive in 30 years,” the official said. “What is the point in China purchasing that mine?”
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