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Denmark, Greenland claim more territory in Arctic, including North Pole

December 15, 2014, 9:39 UTC+3 COPENHAGEN

They claim the territory that is 20 times bigger than Denmark itself

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© ITAR-TASS/Vladimir Smirnov

COPENHAGEN, December 15. /TASS/. Denmark and Greenland, an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark, have submitted an application to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf, seeking an expansion of their sea bottom territory in the Arctic beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines.

They claim the territory that is 20 times bigger than Denmark itself, including the North Pole and about 895,000 square kilometers of the Arctic Ocean’s bottom north of Greenland.

Similar applications were earlier submitted by Canada, Norway, Russia and the Untied States that also claim different sections of the same territory.

Under the existing agreement, if experts from the UN commission rule that several countries can claim one and the same area from the scientific point of view, these countries will have to agree.

The UN commission consists of 21 experts on geology, geophysics and hydrography. Russia’s application is the first to be considered. The Dutch application is to be looked into before 2027.

Russia set on expanding presence in Arctic

Expanding Russia’s presence in the Arctic is one of Russia's key tasks.

Next spring the Russian government plans to file a request at the United Nations for expanding the borders of its continental shelf. If sustained, the request will increase Russia’s reserves of explored hydrocarbons by five billion tons of equivalent fuel. In the meantime, Russia’s Defense Ministry is going to build 13 airdromes and 10 radars in the Arctic. The issue was discussed in detail at a meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin held with the government ministers in October.

According to experts, the overall fuel and energy reserves in Russia’s Arctic exceed 1.6 trillion tons, while the continental shelf contains about a quarter of all of the world’s offshore reserves.

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