The Arctic: A Region of Rivalry or Cooperation?
The Arctic can and must become the territory of peace and cooperation
“Russia views the Arctic as the territory of peace, constructive interaction and good neighbourliness. <...> We are convinced that there is no potential for conflict in the Arctic, and all the issues arising here can and must be resolved by political means at the negotiation table. None of those issues requires a military solution,” Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.
“We are exploring how we can develop our cooperation further. We are working closer together, both bilaterally and in the Arctic Council, on ocean issues and maritime issues; we have a long-standing experience with the management of joint resources such as fish, for instance. We have a very successful history together with Russia,” Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway.
“When participating in Arctic affairs and settling relations with the Arctic countries, China adheres to the principles of respect, cooperation, mutual benefit and sustainability. In Arctic affairs, China will not go beyond its authority and will not give up its interests. Not going beyond its authority means that China, as a non-Arctic country, does not interfere in the affairs within the Arctic zone between the countries of the Arctic,” Arken Imirbaki Vice Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.
“In the world where there is a lot of rivalry, here in the Arctic, we have a unique opportunity to focus on the low tension, to focus on cooperation, and to deliver on some of the main, biggest questions,” Anders Samuelsen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Denmark.
Problems of the Arctic require an integrated approach
“During this month, we will be preparing for the next Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting. Very important documents are being drafted, including the Arctic strategy up to 2025. I hope that it will reflect everything that we are talking about today,” Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.
“Rapid changes are going on in the Arctic today; we are facing a number of factors, or should I say, catalysts, which determine the need for deepening intergovernmental cooperation in the region. That is, first of all, climate change, which, on the one hand, remains a serious common challenge, and on the other hand, it provides new opportunities,” Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.
Reducing the intensity of international interaction
“In the interest of strengthening trust and mutual understanding, preventing any kind of escalation, we support the restoration of a full political and military dialogue of the Arctic states. The annual meeting of the chiefs of staff of the Arctic Council member states’ military forces was an effective mechanism for maintaining regional stability. Unfortunately, such practice has been frozen since 2014,” Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.
“Even though the cooperation between NATO and Russia is less now than it was before 2014, Norway has been an advocate for keeping the dialogue within the NATO–Russia Council,” Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway.
New technologies for development of the Arctic
“Additional prospects related to increasing economic activity are also related to the continuing technological development,” Sergey Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.
“We have an interesting project that requires special treatment: that is transporting icebergs. Today, I can officially declare that this work has been completed by Rosneft and the Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute,” Artur Chilingarov, Special Presidential Representative for International Cooperation in the Arctic and Antarctic; President, Association of Polar Explorers.
“We have to step up our investment in research and development; we need a lot of new technologies. We are already quite good at developing solar energy and wind energy, and we should focus even more on that. Our oil and gas companies are rearranging, and part of their focus is already on green energy,” Anders Samuelsen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Denmark.
Attention to social sphere
“The Arctic is, above all, the people, including the small-numbered indigenous peoples of the North. During its chairmanship term, Russia will act in their best interest in terms of building programmes for the integrated, balanced development of our common region in three dimensions: economic, social and environmental,” Sergey Lavrov, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.
Developing international cooperation and searching for consensus
“We try to pursue our joint interest, and it is no secret that in this panel we have countries and participants who may disagree with some of the policies by individual countries. Having said that, we still work together through the Arctic Council and cooperate through the Barents Council,” Ine Marie Eriksen Søreide, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway.
“We put controversial issues on the table, we talk about them in a frank and open manner, and we find solutions,” Anders Samuelsen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Denmark.