Thursday, April 8, 2010

The US wants our Passage

Melting Arctic poses security risk: US Congress report
Vancouver Sun: A new report prepared for the US Congress on the growing importance of the Arctic in global affairs has highlighted the 'potential emerging security issue' created by diminished ice, increased ship traffic and looming resource competition on the Northern Hemisphere's polar frontier.

The study... also underscores the 'major jurisdiction question over the status of the Northwest Passage, the disputed sea route through Canada's Arctic islands that's viewed as an 'international strait' by the US but as 'internal waters' by the Canadian government...

The report also quotes the US navy's top oceanographer warning that American navigation through several 'strategic choke points' in Arctic waters, including the 'narrow passage' south of Canada's Queen Elizabeth Islands, is 'vulnerable to control or blockade by adversaries.'...

University of British Columbia polar specialist Michael Byers... raise[d] concerns about the report's 'mistaken' contention that the European Union backs the US position in its dispute with Canada over the Northwest Passage. 'To the contrary, the EU has always maintained a studied ambiguity on this issue,' Byers says.

The US report notes that 'preserving freedom of navigation' in Arctic waters is 'an important tenet of US policy.'
Image source here.