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Arctic policy a model for resolving South China Sea dispute?

Eye on the Arctic

The geopolitical conflicts in the Arctic get more and more attention when climate change is discussed in the public sphere.

The discussions are often framed this way: The more resources made available because of climate change means more players will jockey for position, leading to more territorial disputes.

This week an article on the website CNN.com discussed the territorial dispute in the South China Sea between nations such as China, Indonesia, Vietnam and others. Near the end of it, the author discusses Arctic Europe as an example for Asia in resolving some of these issues.

The author goes back to the 1920 Spitsbergen Treaty giving Norway sovereignty over the Spitsbergen archipelago as well as the 2010 Barents Sea resolution between Russia and Norway.

The author points out the business impetus of oil producers Norway and Russia being able to export their product quickly and efficiently ended up trumping a long-simmering territorial disputes. Maybe China and other nations can learn something from the whole exercise.

Interesting to see the Arctic being referred to in this light instead of as a powder keg of potential conflict.

This story is posted on Alaska Dispatch as part of Eye on the Arctic, a collaborative partnership between public and private circumpolar media organizations.