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Thread: Who owns the North Pole?

  1. #1
    Administrator Ross's Avatar
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    Who owns the North Pole?

    In my opinion, nobody should, as with Antarctica.

    Both these regions of Earth should belong to no Country but reserved and protected by all.

    Russia claims vast amounts of the North Pole are part of its territory:

    RUSSIA has staked a claim for the Arctic Ocean — including the North Pole — saying the disputed region is part of the country’s “continental character.”

    Submitting their claim for 1.2 million sq km of disputed territory to the United Nations, they are likely to face opposition from Denmark (via Greenland), Canada, Norway and the US (via Alaska).

    The area in question is thought to contain large untapped reserves of oil and gas as well as precious gems and minerals such as gold and nickel.

    In a statement, Russian officials said tectonic plate maps showed the “outer borders of the continental shelf in the Arctic Ocean is based on the scientific understanding that the central Arctic underwater ridges … have a continental character”.

    The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea allows coastal countries to extend their jurisdiction beyond 200 nautical miles (370km) as long as it can prove the boundary is a natural extension.

    Russia believes they now have that proof, and they want the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (UN CLCS) to apply, confirming their claim.

    For decades Russia has been trying to lay claim to the Arctic and has always maintained a presence in the region building manned drifting stations since the late 1930s.

    In 2001 it submitted its first claim for the Arctic to the UN CLCS but was told the following year the commission would consider it’s submission.

    And while Norway was the first country to have its Arctic claims granted in 2009, it was the claim in December by Denmark made on behalf of Greenland for 895,000 sq km — including the North Pole itself — that has caused tension.

    In response Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans to increase his country’s naval presence in the region sparking fears that the country could attempt a military-led grab — of an area including the north pole, the Express reported.

    The announcement came nine months after Russia claimed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea and is off the back of its involvement in the Ukrainian conflict.

    If Moscow’s claim is approved, it will control million of square kilometres that are believed to contain around 594 oilfields, 159 gas fields as well as two major nickel fields and more than 350 gold deposits, according to the Barents Observor.

    When Denmark, which reportedly spent around $65.5 million on research, submitted its bid, a leading expert on Arctic sovereignty predicted that Russia would retaliate.

    According to The Express Canadian professor Michael Byers said: “It is ironic that the only country that right now could be said to be acting provocatively in the Arctic is Denmark. That is out of character with the country’s tradition of constructive diplomacy.”

    But it’s not just Denmark that Russia will also have to battle for the territory. Canada is also trying to lay claim to North Pole. It just has mapped out how much it believes is theirs.

    Canada and Russia reportedly clashed publicly in 2007 when Moscow staked a symbolic claim to the North Pole by planting a flag on the ocean floor, The Globe and Mail reported.

    According to the newspaper, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper ordered officials in 2013 to rewrite Canada’s Arctic claim to include the North Pole.

    Survey work is reportedly already taking place in preparation for the country’s submission.

    But just who will become the eventual owners of the North Pole, and the rest of the Arctic won’t be determined just yet.

    The commission still has to evaluate each submission.

    According to reports, Russia has said it would abide by what ever decision is made.

    But given the country’s recent record, and its increase in naval ships in the region, its easy to understand why the world may be a little worried.

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