"Claims beyond 200 nautical miles are reviewed by a group of 21 scientists who sit on the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, a body created by the Law of the Sea Convention. "The commission will be facing very, very significant workload issues in the next while because many countries will be turning in claims," says Donald Rothwell of the Australian National University in Canberra. "An already lengthy process could take longer." There's a further catch: the body is prohibited from ruling on territory that's claimed by more than one state. Those countries have to work it out themselves."
Northern nations to discuss Arctic claims: Canada to attend May 27-29 meeting in Greenland
Times & Transcript
April 24th, 2008
OTTAWA - A Canadian delegation will travel to Greenland next month to join high-ranking officials from Norway, Russia and the United States as they discuss competing claims to the Arctic.
The Foreign Affairs Department confirmed yesterday that Canadian officials will join representatives from other countries bordering the Arctic Ocean on May 27-29.
Department spokesman Bernard Nguyen says it hasn't yet been decided who will attend, or how large Canada's delegation will be.
"I know the invitation has been received. Canada will attend, but probably close to the date we can get back to you on that and to let you know who will attend," he said.
The Danish Foreign Ministry says the countries are to discuss territorial claims in the Arctic, co-operation on accidents and oil spills and native peoples' issues.
[IF THE PURPOSE HERE IS TO SORT OUT SOVEREIGN TERRITORIAL CLAIMS, THEN WHY MUST THE U.N. CONTINENTAL SHELF COMMISSION BE INVOLVED?? THIS IS A MATTER FOR SOVEREIGN STATES, NOT THE UNITED NATIONS, TO ADDRESS. IF AN INDEPENDENT ARBITER IS REQUIRED, EXPERT TESTIMONIES CAN BE PROFERRED TO ANY INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL, NOT NECESSARILY WON AFFILIATED WITH THE UNITED NATIONS.]
It's expected the countries will issue a declaration at the end of the meeting in Ilulissat, a town in the Danish autonomous territory.
Northern nations are scrambling to stake their claim to the potentially resource-rich Arctic seabed as the warming climate eases access for drilling for oil and mineral resources there. An American study suggests the region could hold as much as 25 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and gas.
Last summer, Russia symbolically staked its claim to the area's energy riches by planting a flag on the seabed beneath the North Pole. Defence Minister Peter MacKay dismissed the tactics as "just a show."
Meanwhile, Denmark sent an icebreaker to collect data which would support extending its territory beyond the established 200 nautical miles from Greenland.
Under the 1982 U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, Arctic nations have 10 years after ratification to prove their claims under the polar ice pack. Only the United States has yet to ratify the treaty.
[THE UNCLOS WOULD APPLY TO REQUIRE A REALLOCATION OF OCEAN NATURAL RESOURCES, RECOGNIZED BY THE U.N. CONTINENTAL SHELF COMMISSION AS FALLING WITHIN ARTIC NATIONS' NEWLY EXTENDED SOVEREIGN BORDERS, AMONG ALL OTHER NATIONS OF THE WORLD, PURSUANT TO THE LEGAL NOTIONS OF RES COMMUNIS AND ERGES OMNES - GLOBAL COMMONS HERITAGE OF MANKIND].
U.S. satellite data has shown the amount of ice covering the Arctic shrank in September to its lowest level on record.
Australia Extends Continental Shelf
The Associated Press
April 21, 2008
CRANBERRA, Australia -
The world's largest island just got larger. Australia extended control of its continental shelf by nearly 1 million square miles under an agreement with the United Nations, Resources Ministe Martin Ferguson announced Monday.
Ferguson expressed hope that the area would yield oil and gas reserves that could help ensure security of energy supply for Australia and the Asian countries that depend on it.
"The truth of the matter is that (the areas) have been hardly explored," he said. "This is potentially a bonanza. We have got unknown capacity up there."
The U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf made the ruling after Australia sought clarification on the extent of control it had over its seabed. The decision increases Australia's territory by an area five times the size of France and gives it the right to the resources of the seabed. It does not give Australia control over shipping or whaling.
[HOWEVER, IT CAN BLOCK SHIPPING OR WHALING UNDER THE 45 plus ENVIRONMENTAL ARTICLES, REGULATIONS, ANNEXES CONTAINED WITHIN THE UNCLOS & THE MIGRATORY FISH STOCKS PROTOCOL WHICH IMPLEMENTS UNCLOS PROVISIONS. AUSTRALIA MAY INVOKE THESE MEASURES, WHICH COLLECTIVELY PROTECT LIVING AND NONLIVING OCEAN RESOURCES FROM ECONOMIC EXPLOITATION.]
Richard Ellis, the director of the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association, Ltd. said the announcement was very exciting for the oil and gas industry.
"A larger continental shelf means a larger canvas upon which we can paint our resource and energy future," Ellis said.
[BUT HOW DOES A LARGER CONTINENTAL SHELF CONTRIBUTE TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF RENEWABLE AND ENVIRONMENTALLY CLEANER ENERGY RESOURCES THAT CAN SECURE ENERGY INDEPENDENCE??? WHO BENEFITS MORE HERE? THE ENERGY COMPANIES OR THE PUBLIC??]
One scientist also welcomed the arrangement as a way to allow Australia to declare biologically sensitive regions as protected marine areas.
"Beyond exploiting marine resources, it gives us the right to protect the environment," said Mark Allcock of the national Geoscience Australia.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Denmark Invites Arctic Nations to Discuss Claims to North Pole
CBC News Canada
April 18, 2008
Denmark has invited the four other countries with Arctic coastal waters, including Canada, to a meeting in Greenland next month on northern territorial claims.
Denmark, Canada, Russia, Norway and the United States all lay claim to large swathes of underwater territory in the Arctic, which is thought to be rich in deep sea oil deposits and other commodities.
Under the United Nations Law of the Sea convention, signed by Canada in 2003, the five countries may be able to extend their sovereignty beyond the usual 200-nautical mile limit recognized in international law, if the seabed is an extension of the continental shelf.
That potentially gives Canada claim to an area the size of the Prairie provinces, but the agreement is also prompting Russia to insist that huge areas of the Arctic that extend from an undersea mountain range known as the Lomonosov Ridge are part of Russian territory.
Last year, Russia planted its flag on the seabed under the North Pole, laying claim to an area of over one million square kilometres.
The extent of that claim is opposed by the other Arctic countries.
No more Arctic stunts: Danes
Danish officials say overlapping claims between the various Arctic nations should be sorted out according to the rules and process laid out in the Law of the Sea convention.
Thomas Winkler, the head of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs' international law department in Copenhagen, urged all countries to avoid publicity stunts such as planting flags on remote outposts of Arctic land.
"What we are focusing on is the general message that we will act responsibly in this region in accordance with international law," Winkler said.
Denmark also wants all five countries to agree not to sign any new international law agreement or treaty in the Arctic Ocean until the Land of the Sea process is completed.
[THAT COULD TAKE 20 YEARS OR MORE TO SORT OUT!! THE CONTINENTAL SHELF COMMISSION HAS INADEQUATE RESOURCES & EXPERTISE TO CONDUCT SUCH EVALUATIONS IN SHORT ORDER. See: Board of Scientists Is Swamped By Claims For Rich Sea Floors, at: http://itssdjournalunclos-lost.blogspot.com/2008/03/continental-shelf-confusion-over.html]
"It's not a question of making new rules or new treaties or anything for the Arctic Ocean, because we believe we already have the rules we need in place," Winkler said. "So it's a question of confirming that we will adhere to these rules."
Canadian scientists working the country's most remote geological studies outpost off Ellesmere Island have been gathering data on an underwater ridge said to be part of Canadian territory.
Federal government scientist Jacob Verhoef told CBC's Patricia Bell that the idea was to define the edges of Canada's continental shelf, in collaboration with officials from the other four Arctic countries.
The research, Verhoef said, "will once and for all establish the outer limits of Canada and … give a certainty over how far off our sovereign rights extend."
[IF WE ARE SPEAKING MAINLY OF THE CONFIGURATION AND EXTENT OF SOVEREIGN BORDERS, THEN WHY CAN'T THE NATIONS WITH ADJACENT BORDERS ADJACENT TO THE NORTH POLE SORT OUT THEIR OWN BORDERS AMONGST THEMSELVES? WHY MUST THE UN CONTINENTAL SHELF COMMISSION BE INVOLVED?? IS THERE REALLY MORE AT STAKE HERE?? PERHAPS REDISTRIBUTION OF ARTIC RESOURCES FROM THE BORDERING NATIONS TO THE REST OF THE WORLD??]
Corrections and Clarifications
Danish officials have said overlapping claims between the various Arctic nations should be sorted out according to the rules and process laid out in the Law of the Sea convention, not at a proposed meeting of foreign ministers in Greenland at the end of May as previously reported.
UK, Chile Seeking to Expand Antarctic Claims Ahead of Treaty Deadline
By Jaime Jansen
Jurist Legal News and Research
October 23, 2007
JURIST] Chile staked a claim to a portion of Antarctica with the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) [official website] Monday after the United Kingdom made a similar claim to Antarctic land [AP report] last week in the face of a May 2009 deadline.
The Commission has also received claims from Russia, Brazil, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, France, Norway [CLCS materials] and Spain for both the Arctic and the Antarctic; under the 1994 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea [UN materials] countries have 10 years after their ratifications of that treaty to make extended continental shelf claims, although the 1959 Antarctic Treaty [text; ATS materials] specifically prohibits its signatories from asserting new land claims in Antarctica.
The Antarctica Treaty gives countries with valid Antarctic claims the right to search for oil and natural gas beginning in 2048.
The UK, Chile, Argentina, Norway, France, Australia and New Zealand all have present claims to the Antarctic, but submissions to the Commission threaten to change the balance. The UK has drawn up plans to submit to the UN commission multiple claims to an additional 386,000 square miles of sea bed in the south Atlantic, which conflicts with existing claims by Chile and Argentina.
Discussion of expanding the Exclusive Zone
October 23, 2007
PARAMARIBO, Suriname (CMC):
Barbados and Suriname will on Monday hold bilateral talks in Paramaribo concerning the expansion of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of both countries beyond the 200 nautical miles, authorities here have disclosed.
Coastal states, according to Article 76 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), can file a request with the United Nations for expansion of their EEZ beyond the 200 nautical miles with a maximum to the 350 nautical miles limit if they can prove that their continental shelf reaches further than 200 nautical miles.
Suriname's deadline to file a claim with the UN expires on May 13, 2009. It is expected that, if successful, Suriname could add an extra 70,000 to 120,000 square kilometres of sea area to its territory.
Suriname Informs Neighbouring Countries of Seismic Research
By Ivan Cairo
Caribbean Net News Suriname
October 19, 2007
PARAMARIBO, Suriname: Suriname is set to conduct seismic research off-shore in connection with the final determination of its economic zone beyond the 200 nautical mile line.
Meanwhile the governments of Guyana, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela and France have been informed over the imminent activities, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs disclosed.
Due to concerns raised by Guyana about the location of these activities within the 200 nautical miles, the Venetiaan administration has informed the Guyanese government that the operation will take place within the maritime area that was awarded to Suriname in the September 17 ruling of a UN Arbitration Tribunal which determined the maritime boundary between Suriname and Guyana.
With regard to the research activities beyond the 200 nautical mile boundary, Guyana has indicated that it will only give permission on the condition that Suriname share all the collected data with the Guyanese side.
In response, the Suriname government notified Georgetown that its consent is not necessary in this specific case. “The seismic research is being conducted subject to rights as provided in Article 76 paragraph 10 of the UNCLOS and moreover Suriname has the right to unilaterally implement these activities because these of their nature these kind of activities have no detrimental impact on the maritime environment,” said the ministry.
The Suriname government, however, has suggested that, at the technical meetings scheduled for December, amongst other things delegations could discuss possible exchange of mutually collected relevant data. Both countries could also discuss a joint approach towards other issues regarding the maritime area beyond the 200 nautical miles.
Meanwhile Suriname is preparing a claim with the United Nations for extension of its continental plateau.
Therefore, the Russian research vessel MS Kapinsky was hired to conduct seismic research to determine the possible expansion of the continental plateau beyond 200 nautical miles.
The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea gives countries bordering at sea the opportunity to claim extension of their exclusive maritime zone to a maximum of 350 nautical miles.
Therefore these countries should follow certain procedures to establish and proof that their continental plateau reaches beyond 200 nautical miles.
According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, computer exercises have indicated, that Suriname’s continental plateau expands further than 200 nautical miles. The MS Kapinsky has conducted similar research activities for other countries.
The Tip of the Iceberg
By Michael Bravo
October 17, 2007
The news that the UK intends to file a claim for sovereignty over the seabed adjacent to its Antarctic territorial claim will significantly change the way we think about Antarctica.
When the original 12 signatories signed the Antarctic treaty nearly 50 years ago, they agreed to put their territorial claims over the remote continent into abeyance. This was a major geopolitical milestone.
The international agreement stated that the interests of individual nations should come second to preserving Antarctica as a common heritage for all countries. So, even at the height of the cold war, the idea of Antarctica as a demilitarised continent dedicated to science in a spirit of international cooperation was born.
But the high seas surrounding Antarctica, technically speaking, lie outside the bounded land of the Antarctic continent and are therefore subject to the UN convention on the law of the sea treaty (UNCLOS), which was signed in 1982.
[BUT, PURSUANT TO THE UNCLOS, THE 'HIGH SEAS' AREAS ARE SUBJECT TO THE SAME 'COMMON HERITAGE OF MANKIND' DOCTRINE, UNLESS, THE 'HIGH SEAS' CAN BE RECLAIMED AS AN EXTENSION OF SOVEREIGN COASTAL STATE EXCLUSIVE ECONOMIC ZONES.]
Whether the seabed will be considered as an extension of the land and therefore subject to the Antarctic treaty, which covers territory south of 60 degrees, or whether it will be treated as part of the high seas and governed by the law of the sea remains to be seen.
Britain and Australia (which has signalled its intention to register a similar Antarctic claim) appear to believe that the law of the sea will take precedence in seabed disputes.
[WE ALL CAN EXPECT MORE LITIGATION NOW].
Created under the aegis of UNCLOS, the International Seabed Authority (1994) enables states to register territorial claims to sovereignty over their continental shelves. Shelves come in all shapes and sizes. Some go well beyond the recognised 200-mile exclusive economic zones, and can therefore be critical for accessing greater resource rights.
Why is this happening now? The answer, in a word, is energy. The world's largest economies, including the UK, are seeking new supplies of energy away from the instability of the Middle East, without wanting to depend on the whim of Russia.
The ocean seabed is a resource frontier with immense mineral wealth. Take, for example, the remote Falkland Islands, seen in the past by the British government as a problem rather than an opportunity.
If we cast our minds back to our school geography, we recall how Africa and South America once fitted together as a single landmass before drifting apart.
A more careful examination of the Atlantic Ocean Basin reveals that the Falkland Islands are merely the tip of the iceberg. Beneath the ocean surface around the islands is an undersea plateau extending towards Africa. Further north we know that there are oil-rich black shale deposits off the coasts of Angola in the east and off Brazil in the west. Oil is also produced off the coast of Argentina.
The UK government is betting that the sub-oceanic Falklands Plateau on which the islands sit also contains oil and gas deposits that could help Britain heat its homes, fuel its cars, and power its industries in coming decades. The seas around the Falkland Islands already provide revenues in the form of fishing licenses.
The UK government's intention to lay claim to a section of the Antarctic shelf signals an expansionist phase in its South Atlantic foreign policy. The British sector of Antarctica belongs to the same geographical imagination as its other Atlantic colonial outposts at Ascension and the Falklands. The UK claim in effect imposes a southward extension of its economic self-interest.
Whereas UK interests have until now been aligned with discourses of scientific cooperation and conservation, staking a claim to the Antarctic sea bed sends out a clear signal that the currency of Antarctic internationalism is being devalued, or at least limited to the land.
The UK's decision is a calculated response to the recent Russian declaration of sovereignty over the North Pole basin. Russia sent out a submarine to plant a flag at the North Pole on the ocean floor in the vicinity of the Lomonosov Ridge that connects the Arctic shelves of Russia and Canada.
National approaches differ. Many thought the Russian flag-planting unnecessarily theatrical, echoing an overtly imperialist Soviet tradition. By contrast, the British Foreign Office, anticipating that other Antarctic signatories may soon make similar claims, will hope that the UK is given credit for abiding by international law and following the formal procedures of the International Seabed Authority.
Expect a sharp backlash and a storm of criticism as this story travels quickly around the world. Critics will draw parallels in Britain's geopolitical stance between the race for the Antarctic seabed and the heroic race for the South Pole, resonant with images of British imperialism.
Argentina and Chile will interpret it as a repudiation of the Antarctic treaty itself, because the British claim to the seabed shelf only makes sense in relation to the force of our claim to territory on the adjacent Antarctic landmass. For that reason, British foreign policy will be seen to be riding roughshod over the interests of other Antarctic stakeholders.
Conservation organisations will see this as nothing short of a disaster. They will say it undermines the trust necessary to advance environmental governance - and they will have a strong case if they argue that the British action damages the very fabric of the Antarctic treaty, reversing the principle of putting science and the common good before national interests.
Some years may pass before the Antarctic seabed claim and counter-claims are adjudicated, but two consequences will be felt much more immediately.
The decision to make a claim will inflict serious damage on Britain's much cherished reputation as a privileged defender of the forgotten continent.
Pushing the national interest in this way will turn up the geopolitical temperature and heighten the anxieties of other states and stakeholders in the polar regions.
Nevertheless, it is worth recalling that Britain is not the first to make such a claim; Australia did it in 2004 for the Antarctic continental margin abutting the Australian Antarctic Territory.
[Michael Bravo is head of the History and Public Policy Research Group at the Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge]
Peru will not Sign U.N. Law of the Sea in Border Dispute with Chile
Living in Peru
September 4, 2007
(LIP-ir) -- Peru's La Republic newspaper reported that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, José Antonio García Belaunde, stated last night that Peru would not sign or ratify the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
García Belaunde added that Peru's government did not find it necessary to join UNCLOS, a set of rules for the use of the world's oceans, in its maritime dispute over the Pacific Ocean with Chile.
"I have said it clearly, Peru will not sign the Law of the Sea, it is not indispensable in going to the World Court and most of the candidates which were recently elected have emphatically stated that they will not sign it," stated García Belaunde to Peru's press.
In addition, Peru's Foreign Affairs Minister stated that all of the necessary steps are being taken to file a case against Chile at the World Court in The Hague, Netherlands.
García Belaunde added that lawyers were being hired to represent Peru in the maritime dispute with Chile.
Minister García Belaunde made statements to the press after having attended a meeting with the Parliament Foreign Affairs Commission, in which the strategy that is to be used in the maritime border dispute with Chile was discussed.
Peru is one of the few nations around the world that has not signed the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Who Resolves Arctic Oil Disputes? Antarctica Provides a Model for Settling Competing Claims
By Colin Woodard
Christian Science Monitor
August 20, 2007
Russia's planting of a flag at the North Pole this month has set off a race for control of the Arctic, with five nations preparing to make claims to the seabed at the top of the world.
Since Aug. 2, when a Russian research submarine placed the flag on the seabed 13,000 feet below the surface, the Arctic has suddenly moved onto the international stage.
Denmark dispatched icebreakers to survey potential claims in the far north, where the US Coast Guard ice-breaker Healy is already engaged in a mapping mission that would bolster a US claim.
Canada, which announced it will build two military outposts in the region, is expected to follow suit.
Resolving disputes arising from the claims will represent a major diplomatic challenge to the five nations that surround the rapidly thawing Arctic Ocean. But experts say the track record for dealing with similar disputes is encouraging, suggesting it's likely that rival nations can work out a mutually satisfactory solution over the coming decade.
"The international community has dealt with lots of maritime boundary issues with a lot of resources at stake," says Ted McDorman, professor of law at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. "When you have an overlapping claim, you negotiate with one another. The Arctic won't be any different." The Inuit have been living in the High Arctic for thousands of years, and 160,000 still do. Over the past 400 years, their land was incorporated into European empires, which claimed control of the sea to a distance of three miles. The rest of the vast Arctic basin wasn't owned by anybody.
In the 20th century, many nations extended territorial waters to control use of shipping lanes, fishing banks, and energy resources. By the early 1980s, most nations came to accept claims of exclusive economic control for 200 nautical miles from shore.
Today, the outer ring of the Arctic is effectively carved up between five nations: Russia, Norway, Canada, the US, and Denmark (which controls Greenland). The middle remains unowned.
What are the new claims about?
All five states are expected to claim part of the Arctic Ocean, legal experts say, together grabbing about 90 percent of currently unclaimed seabed.
They're doing this because global warming is melting much of the Arctic's ice cover, raising the possibility of increased shipping and oil and gas exploration.
According to the US Geological Survey, the region may contain 25 percent of the world's remaining oil and gas reserves.
Such claims are legitimate under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, which lets states make claims beyond 200 nautical miles if the seabed is shown to be an extension of their continental shelf. All the potential claimants except the US have ratified the convention.
[CLAIMS SUCH AS THESE CAN BE MADE UNILATERALLY AND THEN BE SUBJECT TO BILATERAL NEGOTIATION, IF NECESSARY. IT IS ARGUABLE THAT UNCLOS RATIFICATION DOES NOT BESTOW ANY FURTHER LEGITIMACY ON SUCH CLAIMS, GIVEN THAT THE U.S. LAID CLAIMS TO ITS MARITIME BORDERS LONG BEFORE THE UNCLOS CAME INTO FULL FORCE & EFFECT.
The convention has time limits for making claims, based on when they ratified the treaty.
Russia, which did so early, submitted a claim to the North Pole and 1.2 million square kilometers of seabed in 2001, alleging that the underwater Lomonosov Ridge is an extension of its continental shelf.
Canada and Denmark have until 2013 and 2014, respectively, to submit counterclaims. The US will have 10 years to claim a large area adjacent to the Alaskan shelf once it ratifies the treaty.
Does Russia's flag mean anything?
In legal terms, no. Under the Law of the Sea, it's geology, not flag planting, that matters, which is why Russia, Denmark, the US, and Canada are all dispatching survey ships to the region.
"Natural features of the seabed have to be understood and mapped very carefully," to substantiate that it is an extension of a country's continental shelf, says Lindsay Parson of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, England.
Nonetheless, the flag planting was a powerful symbolic act, says Eric Posner of the University of Chicago Law School, who believes power, not international law, will settle the issue. "Russia really meant something when it planted the flag: that it is taking the Arctic carve-up very seriously," he says, noting that Moscow's fleet of heavy icebreakers is second to none. "Russia is positioning itself to take the lion's share. If the US and Canada don't make serious investments in ships that can patrol the Arctic, then Russia will have no reason to back down and will just go with the biggest possible claim."
Who decides claims?
Claims beyond 200 nautical miles are reviewed by a group of 21 scientists who sit on the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, a body created by the Law of the Sea Convention.
"The commission will be facing very, very significant workload issues in the next while because many countries will be turning in claims," says Donald Rothwell of the Australian National University in Canberra. "An already lengthy process could take longer."
There's a further catch: the body is prohibited from ruling on territory that's claimed by more than one state. Those countries have to work it out themselves.
Michael Byers, of the University of British Columbia, says the claimants have incentives to work out a deal. "It's not in any country's interest – or that of the big multinational oil companies – to have a Wild West scenario up there," he says.
Have countries cooperated before?
Yes, and legal experts say such efforts offer a variety of models for the Arctic.
For example: France, Ireland, Spain, and Britain all have claims on the shelf offshore from the Bay of Biscay, but decided to submit their claim jointly and subdivide it later. "We did research cruises together and there was a tremendous amount of bonhomie," recalls Professor Parson. "It was practical and pragmatic all around."
Similarly, Australia and New Zealand have overlapping claims to parts of the Tasman Sea, but worked out a territorial compromise on their own before submitting their respective claims.
"The common sense approach is to try to reach a mutually negotiated settlement," says Professor Rothwell. "Indeed most of the countries around the world do adopt that approach."
Rothwell also points to the Antarctic, where 46 nations put all claims on hold indefinitely under the 1959 Antarctic Treaty. "It may be that we've moved into the stage where the Arctic states might look more closely at what has been going on in the Antarctic," he says.
What if they don't?
"If you have a resource grab, you would have a very serious problem," says Christopher Joyner of Washington's Georgetown University. "There would be a serious conflict between Canada and Russia, and the US would not be far behind."
On the other hand, one side might just back down. "The US and Canada might say, well, there's enough Arctic for us and it's not worth it to try to interfere with Russia," says Professor Posner.
Byer thinks negotiations will work. "If Russia really wanted to be difficult, it wouldn't be chartering its icebreakers to other countries [such as Denmark and Canada]," he says. "Cooperation just might succeed in this instance, which is something to celebrate in today's world."
What the foreign press says
" The division of the Arctic 'is the start of a new redistribution of the world.' "
– Rossiiskaya Gazeta
"It was the first time that a Russian expedition, having reached the North Pole, made a 13,000-ft. dive and set a Russian flag on the bottom of the Arctic Ocean. Thereby they rose our country's prestige...,' [Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia in letter to State Duma vice speaker]. 'This expedition proves that Russia is rightfully called a great polar power.'"
– Interfax, Moscow
"The whole business is more like the late-19th century scramble for Africa, when the great powers carved up the continent.... But unlike in Africa, this dispute cannot be decided on the basis of first come, first served.
"There is, of course, a bitter irony underlying all this. Access to the Arctic for all these nations has improved in recent years only because of climate change.... As thrilling as this latest expedition might be, it would have been better for mankind if the Arctic had remained an inaccessible wilderness."
– The Independent, London
"One of its most dangerous effects in the Arctic will be to expose great tracts of land to the release of methane gas ... which would actually speed up global warming – perhaps uncontrollably.
"It would be far better to seek out co-operative solutions for protecting and exploiting ... resources. This could be done by extending the Law of the Sea Treaty, or by using a precedent established in Antarctica during the 1950s, when a similar competitive surge at the South Pole was wisely steered towards a framework of legal governance."
– The Irish Times, Dublin, Ireland
Peru Prepares for World Court at Hague Over Border Dispute with Chile
August 14, 2007
(LIP-ir) -- Peru's Minister of Foreign Affairs, José García Belaunde, considered that the fact that Chile's government called home its ambassador in Lima, to be normal. Minister Garcia assured that the dispute over the maritime boundaries should not get in the way of a good bilateral relationship between Peru and Chile.
"It (the call) is a very common diplomatic practice when there is a new situation or a situation that has drawn a lot of attention, as has this one, apparently," stated Peru's Minister when he arrived to Lima after a visit to Colombia.García Belaunde assured that the border dispute should not, in any way, be an obstacle in maintaining a good relationship with Chile.
"We have a positive agenda we need to work on, we are civilized countries that should resolve our differences in a cordial manner," said García Belaunde.
Chile's government called home its ambassador, Cristián Barros, after the publication of the maritime border map, in Peru's official government newspaper El Peruano, that showed that an area of the Pacific Ocean that is under Chile's control - rightfully belongs to Peru.
The Map is accessible here: http://www.livinginperu.com/lipZI.php
Barros left Peru for Santiago on Monday night, without making any statements.Chilean government spokesman Ricardo Lagos Weber, stated that Peru's actions were 'surprising and unacceptable.' Patricio Walker, speaker of the lower house of the Chilean Congress, stated that the publication of the map was an 'open provocation' and canceled a planned visit to Lima where he was to meet with Peru's President Alan Garcia.
The map is part of the case Peru will take to the International Court at The Hague.
Peru - Chile Maritime Limits Map Published in Government Newpaper
Living in Peru
August 13, 2007
(LIP-ir) -- Yesterday, a decree which establishes the maritime limits between Peru and Chile, was published in Peru's official government newspaper, El Peruano.
The decree, which included a map approved by Peru's executive branch, reaffirms Peru's government's position with respect to the controversial maritime limit dispute between Chile and Peru.
According to El Peruano, Law 28621, which sets border limits with Chile according to constitutional policies and international law, has been established as the Law of Peru's Maritime Limits.
Official maps, included in the decree, are based on this law.
The Law of Peru's Maritime Limits, was passed in 2005 and has already been submitted and registered with the United Nations.
The map published in El Peruano yesterday, will be submitted to the United Nations.
The Map is accessible here: http://www.livinginperu.com/lipZI.php
Peru's government has stated that the treaty signed between Peru and Chile in 1929, after the War of the Pacific, defined land limits, not maritime boundaries.