Arctic News Roundup: 25-31 May

[Photo by Marc Lanteigne]
by Mingming Shi

1) OtC editors Mingming Shi and Marc Lanteigne co-wrote a commentary, published in The Polar Connection, on the subject of the political debate surrounding the recent US investment package proposal for Greenland. The piece summarised the motivations of both Washington and Nuuk regarding the agreement, and also analysed the concerns from Copenhagen about Greenland’s economic sovereignty.

2) The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has hit the tourism sector of Iceland severely. As RÚV, the country’s national broadcasting service reported, the Blue Lagoon (Bláa Lónið), one of the best known tourism sites and leisure resorts in the country, has laid off more than four hundred employees, but may rehire them when the situation improves. Additionally, according to Statistics Iceland (Hagstofa Íslands), seventy-five hotels in Iceland were closed in April.

3) The Music School in Nuuk, Greenland (Nuummi Nipilersornermik Ilinniarfik – Musikskolen i Nuuk) composed a new song [video] about how the country can best protect itself from the COVID-19 virus.

4) A new coalition government of Greenland has been formed to lead the nation. The new configuration consists of three political parties, namely Siumut (the party headed by Prime Minister Kim Kielsen), Nunatta Qitornai and Demokraatit, according to Sermitsiaq, a local Greenlandic news agency.

5) A professor at the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies (IFS) in Oslo has argued that although China has been increasing its presence in the Arctic, he does not perceive these activities as military-related. These comments came on the heels of remarks made by outgoing US Ambassador to Norway Kenneth Braithwaite about the potential threat to Norwegian security interests from both China and Russia.