Arctic News Roundup: 8-14 June

Thingvellir river
Þingvellir, Iceland [Photo by Mingming Shi]
by Mingming Shi

1) Marc Lanteigne, the Chief Editor for Over the Circle (OtC), provided an analysis on the Memorandum on Safeguarding U.S. National Interests in the Arctic and Antarctic Regions, which was recently published by the US government. The article outlined the primary goals of Washington, along with its motivations behind them, in the Polar Regions. However, the piece also argued that it would take some time to observe how the US would actually implement the proposed strategies within the memorandum, and how this would affect American influence on the region, given that Russia will assume the chair at the Arctic Council next year, as well as other variables such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

2) The Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), a think tank based in Copenhagen, published a new policy paper [in Danish] which suggested the Government of Denmark should take an active role in addressing tensions in the Arctic, and maintaining the relationships with its traditional alliance partners in the region, in the wake of increasing competition between the great powers, including the United States, China and Russia, as reported in Arctic Today

3) It has been one year since Iceland assumed the chair of the Arctic Council. Iceland, as noted in an editorial by Einar Gunnarsson, Chair of the Council’s Senior Arctic Officials. His comments included a restatement of the four major priorities of the organisation’s work, namely to assist people and communities, protect and understand the Arctic marine environment, to address climate and energy solutions, and to strengthen cooperation and communication between the organisation and other regional stakeholders.

4) After closing their facilities in 1953, the United States officially reopened its consulate in Nuuk, Greenland, as part of Washington’s ongoing diplomacy towards the island. Mr Sung W. Choi, who has extensive diplomatic experience in Asia and Europe, had been named as first consul.