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The Arctic: expectations and reality

03.04.2019 10:50

The discussions on the Polar region ownership have continued unabated  in recent years. Arctic states continue to fight for the possibility of expanding their borders in the region. Several countries claim the disputed territory at once, which means that scientific fights are still the focus. However, while some participants in these “competitions” held serious surveys and organized long-term expeditions, others took the path of least resistance and cost.

Thus, Denmark filed separated parts of the application for the continental shelf expansion three times – in 2012, 2013 and 2014. According to the last version, the country claims to 895 thousand sq. km. of waters completely covering the Lomonosov Ridge, which the Russian Federation considers as a submarine natural prolongation of its land territory.

Danish claims on the territory south of Greenland partially overlaps with the waters claimed by Iceland (according to the 2009 application), and Canada (according to the 2013 application). In the northeast the territorial interests of Denmark face the Norwegian ones, announced in 2006.

It must be noted that some oddities were found when considering the last application of Denmark for the part of the sub-polar waters already included in the claims of other Arctic countries. The fact is that "the materials of geological surveys presented by Denmark are a copy of those held by other countries in 2007-2016."

In particular, the controversy between Russia and Denmark of the Arctic shelf part ownership was highlighted by the European mass media with the title “Denmark’s requires to revise subarctic countries’ submissions are groundless” dated October 2, 2018. For a long time the materials collected to substantiate the Russian application for the Arctic shelf extension were open for analysis to assess the validity. Probably, the Danish experts went into geological plagiarism.

However, these circumstances do not confuse the militant Vikings, and therefore, Denmark’s former Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard declared courageously that their scientific surveys confirmed the existence of a direct connection between the continental shelf of Greenland and the structures at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean.

The UN representatives act in accordance with the Convention on the Law of the Sea, which dictates the following conditions for extending the shelf beyond 200 miles from the coast: the state must provide evidence of the continental nature of the formations adjacent to its land territory under water. It is worth noting that the commission cannot decide on the establishment of borders in the Arctic region in favor of any country, since its functions are limited only to confirming or refuting the applications scientific validity. At the same time, the maritime delimitation issues are discussed during the bilateral negotiations of the Arctic states.

For these reasons, Copenhagen decided not to disperse its scientific and financial resources into time-consuming surveys and justification. The main thing is to create the appearance of rough activity and periodically remind everyone of its claims. In the end, no one needs them, and all these issues will be solved by diplomats, not scientists.

It turns out that for many years the militant Danish Vikings existed at their neighbors’ expense, robbing and ruining them. Time has passed, but the habit of parasitizing seems to persist until now.