NATO chief outlines Arctic expansion — RT World News

Stoltenberg cites “strategic challenge” from Russia and China to justify militarizing the polar region

NATO will boost its armed forces presence in the Arctic on account of Russia and China posing a “strategic challenge” to the bloc there, Secretary-Typical Jens Stoltenberg argued, in an op-ed forward of his stop by to the Canadian north. 

The Arctic is “the gateway to the North Atlantic, web hosting essential trade, transportation and communication hyperlinks concerning North The usa and Europe. Guaranteeing freedom of navigation and unfettered accessibility is important to continue to keep our economies potent and our men and women protected,” Stoltenberg wrote in the posting, printed on Wednesday in Canada’s World and Mail. 

Due to the “rapidly warming weather,” considerably of the Arctic will be ice-no cost in the summertime, which unlocks “opportunities for shipping and delivery routes, all-natural assets and economic development” that can be exploited by “authoritarian regimes” like Russia and China, Stoltenberg argued.

Russia is beefing up its Northern Fleet, though China is setting up a “Polar Silk Road” to Europe by means of the Arctic, developing the world’s largest icebreaker and declaring alone a “near-Arctic state,” the Norwegian former politician wrote.

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To counter this, Stoltenberg wrote, the “defensive alliance” will spend in “new air and maritime capabilities,” perform extra physical exercises like Trident Juncture and Cold Response, and bolster its presence in the Large North total. The Cold Reaction drills in Norway, which took area in March and April, associated troops from 27 countries and had been the biggest NATO Arctic work out because the 1980s.

Stoltenberg also revealed that he would be checking out the Cold Lake airbase and the Cambridge Bay early-warning radar site in Nunavut as portion of his Arctic tour with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Whilst Stoltenberg talked up the alleged Sino-Russian threat in the region, as soon as Finland and Sweden formally be a part of the alliance, seven out of eight Arctic Council associates will belong to NATO. All of them have suspended their things to do in the consulting physique earlier this calendar year, citing the conflict in Ukraine. Russia, the only non-NATO member of the council, accounts for 53% of the Arctic shoreline and a lot more than 50 % of the region’s long term populace.

Russia has warned against the growing militarization of the Arctic, expressing that Finland and Sweden signing up for NATO made a chance of turning the area into a “theater of armed forces operations.”

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