Russia's Lavrov, after Pompeo talks, warns against United States military action in Venezuela

Russia's Lavrov, after Pompeo talks, warns against United States military action in Venezuela

The topic of alleged Russian interference in the US elections was not raised by US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo at today's meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, a diplomatic source told TASS on Monday.

Pompeo emphasized that China isn't an Arctic state and that its observer status is contingent upon its respect for the sovereignty of the permanent member nations.

For the USA, he said that means boosting America's security and diplomatic presence with new military exercises, icebreakers and expanded Coast Guard operations.

The Arctic Council consists of the United States, Russia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden with the region's indigenous populations also represented. He rejected China's assertion that it is a "near-Arctic nation". "No third category exists - and claiming otherwise entitles China to exactly nothing".

"China's pattern of aggressive behaviour elsewhere will inform how it treats the Arctic", he said.

Ahead of the Arctic Council meeting, the Pentagon released a report warning that China's civilian ambitions in the region could serve as a foil for the development of a military presence, including the deployment of submarines as a deterrent against a nuclear attack.

"Do we want the Arctic Ocean to transform into a new South China Sea, fraught with militarization and competing territorial claims?"

Mr Pompeo's speech instead focused on the politics of the Arctic region, calling it "an arena for power and competition", in a speech delivered the day before ministers from the Arctic countries are due to meet. In less than five years, Russian Federation has renovated Cold-War era military bases in the region and constructed 475 new military sites, Pompeo said.

Asked directly about climate change and the Arctic in an interview with a Finnish newspaper, Pompeo declined the opportunity to mention the phrase and downplayed the importance of the Paris climate accord from which President Donald Trump. "On the one hand, he can warn".

Pompeo acknowledged that Russian Federation, with its massive expanse in the Arctic, has legitimate interests in the region.

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"Just because the Arctic is a place of wilderness does not mean it should become a place of lawlessness", he said. Many of those critics fear the administration is intent on using Arctic resources with no thought for its consequences or mitigation.

"The business of the Arctic Council is cooperation, environmental protection, friendly consultation and the sharing and exchange of views. We are not threatening anyone", Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said at an Arctic forum in St Petersburg last month.

"But mostly it's been about the Trump presidency and their stance towards climate change which really has made things hard". It may impact the inter-state relations and security in our region.

Gao Feng, China's special representative for the Arctic and head of the Chinese delegation at the Arctic Council ministerial, said the speech left him floored. "We recognize that climate change is real".

Pompeo's speech, which ran to 2,400 words, failed to mention "climate change". Pompeo than the trade opportunities presented.

"Arctic sea lanes could become the 21st century's Suez and Panama Canals". "It houses 13 percent of the world's undiscovered oil, 30 percent of its undiscovered gas, an abundance of uranium, rare earth minerals, gold, diamonds, and millions of square miles of untapped resources, fisheries galore".

Pompeo sought to assuage environmental concerns by committing to safe and responsible development.

President Trump withdrew the US from the Paris climate deal in 2017, a move blasted by other Arctic Council member states and something that continues to be sticking point in bilateral meetings with Arctic Council nations.

This article was written by Matthew Lee from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Critics argue that those reductions are the result of policies enacted before Trump took office and could be reversed.

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