Involvement of 'Outsiders' in the Arctic Region

Aliyeva Incha  

Citation: Aliyeva Incha, Involvement of 'Outsiders' in the Arctic Region, Global Affairs Review, Vol. 2, No. 2, Fall/Winter 2021.

doi: 10.51330/gar.0020222

ISSN: 2660-6968

date: December 28th, 2021


Since ancient times people have had access to the Arctic Circle, however, the last few decades have seen recent technological advancements that have allowed the area to be explored more comprehensively. This has created a significantly more complex picture than before as it has been called the new “Great Game.” With the rising interests of eight nations and other non-Arctic countries in the region, overlapping territorial claims have the potential to create new challenges. It is anticipated that increased interest will lead to an increase in the number of vessels transiting the region, despite harsh climate conditions. Meanwhile, the Arctic is experiencing environmental change that is inescapably leading to a new geopolitical reality. Authors, such as Jason Dittmer, have claimed that “The Arctic is evolving from a regional frozen backwater into a global hot issue.” This article discusses the colliding interests and current state of affairs of the three Arctic Council Asian observer countries, China, Japan, and South Korea, as well as those of two observer organizations, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the European Union (EU). Sustainability is one of the major priorities of these countries, which has been reflected in their Arctic policies. The reason for examining China, Japan, and South Korea is that they are growing superpowers and industrialized countries with varying interests in regards to the Arctic region.