Canada Claims: North Pole Should Be Ours; Not Yet Approved By UN

Image: Canada Claims: North Pole Should Be Ours; Not Yet Approved By UN

Wednesday, 11 Dec 2013 11:56 AM

By Morgan Chilson

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Canada will seek to claim the North Pole by extending the area of its continental shelf.

Last week, the U.S.’s northern neighbor applied to the United Nations to extend its seabed claims in the Atlantic, but Foreign Rights Minister John Baird said scientists will also submit a claim for the north pole, which currently is unclaimed, The Associated Press reported.

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The Arctic is rich in natural resources, containing 30 percent of the undiscovered natural gas in the world and 15 percent of oil.

“We are determined to ensure that all Canadians benefit from the tremendous resources that are to be found in Canada’s far north,” Baird told the AP.

To extend nautical borders, countries submit requests to the United Nations Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf. Five countries close to the Arctic — Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States — have 200 nautical miles from their northern coasts.

U.N. conventions allow countries to prove that their continental shelf goes beyond the zone, which would allow them to extend their claims.

Canadian scientists will be determining how far their country extends under the north pole, the BBC reported.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been an advocate of the country’s sovereignty in the north. Canada's Globe and Mail reports he was unhappy with the initial claim made to extend the continental shelf, which had to be filed by Dec. 6, and considers it a preliminary submission, pushing scientists to make a more extensive claim.

The newspaper said government entities have been working for almost 10 years on the U.N. submission to the tune of $200 million.

Russia has also made claims for the area, but a 2001 U.N. submission needed more evidence. Russia is not expected to retract its claims: A submarine dropped the country’s flag on the North Pole seabed in 2007.

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