Canada Claims North Pole

Other nations also vying for resource-rich arctic

The crew of the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Hampton (SSN 767) posted a sign reading "North Pole" made by the crew after surfacing in the polar ice cap region. (U.S. Navy/Wikimedia)
Photo: U.S. Navy/Wikimedia ICEX polar ice cap ice cap north pole artic tireless hms british submarine ice snow hampton ssn 767 los-angeles class

Who owns the Arctic? Last week, Canada effectively said the region is their's. The Canadian government submitted an application to the U.N. last Friday claiming the outer limits of country's continental shelf includes the North Pole.

Canada joins the other seven nations with arctic borders—Russia, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Finland, Norway, and the U.S.—eying the resources beneath the northern sea. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates this unclaimed region contains 30 percent of the world's undiscovered natural gas and 15 percent of undiscovered oil.

"We are determined to ensure that all Canadians benefit from the tremendous resources that are to be found in Canada's far north," John Baird, Canada's foreign affairs minister, told The Guardian.

But Canada's not the first to claim this frozen, harsh region of the world. In August 2007, Russia planted its flag on the seabed below the North Pole to further Moscow's claims to the Arctic.

Following Canada's claim last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin told his military leadership that building a military presence in the region should be a priority.

President Putin asked them to pay "particular attention to the deployment of infrastructure and military units in the Arctic," the BBC reports. This summer, the Russian military reopened a Soviet-era airbase abandoned 20 years ago on the northern Novosibirsk Islands, or New Siberian Islands, which are strategically located on a passage for ships to travel from Asia to Western Europe.

Putin reportedly also said: "Next year, we have to complete the formation of new large units and military division [in the Arctic]."

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