Pompeo Turns Up Heat on China at Arctic Council Ministerial

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks on Arctic policy at the Lappi Areena in Rovaniemi, Finland on May 6, 2019. - Pompeo is in Rovaniemi to attend the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty

ROVANIEMI, FINLAND — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday turned up the heat on China once again during his trip to Finland to attend the 2019 Arctic Council Ministerial, calling China a “non-Arctic” state whose ambitions in the region pose an emerging challenge.

“The Trump Administration has sought to engage in the Arctic with renewed vigor, openness, and respect, as I spoke about at length yesterday,” he said. “America’s new Arctic focus prioritizes close cooperation with our partners on emerging challenges, including the increased presence and ambitions of non-Arctic nations in the region.”

He added: “The Trump Administration shares your deep commitment to environmental stewardship. In fact, it’s one reason Chinese activity, which has caused environmental destruction in other regions, concerns us here in the Arctic.”

The Arctic Council consists of eight state members, including the U.S. However, China gained observer status in 2013, and claims to be a “near-Arctic” nation — a label that Pompeo has rejected as a non-existent third category.

He said although the U.S. is not signing onto the collective goal for reduction of black carbon, the U.S. has recently reported the largest reduction in black carbon emissions by any Arctic Council state.

“We are doing our part, and we encourage other states to do the same—with full transparency,” he said.

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