The rivalry between the US, China and Russia over the Arctic and the role of Alaska

Alaska is the new competition site between the United States, Russia and China. This US state is separated from Russia by the Bering Strait, which is less than 90 km in diameter at its narrowest point. “Alaska is America’s gateway to the Arctic,” says expert Esther Brimmer of the Council on Foreign Relations think tank. In addition, it is home to bases for the US Air Force, land forces, Coast Guard and Space Force, as well as strategic observation posts, radar sites and interceptor missiles to defend against North Korean ballistic missiles. China and Russia are interested in the Arctic because of the natural and energy resources that lie hidden under the ice. The airspace there provide routes for commercial airlines and other aircraft. China would also like to unblock a shorter trade route to Europe as the ice cap melts due to climate change.

The Canadian military reported that it found evidence of Chinese surveillance in the Arctic during the Limpid operation. China’s efforts have focused on conducting surveillance operations in Canadian airspace and maritime approaches with “dual-use technology”, i.e. devices that conduct surveillance for research and military purposes. Nearly 1,000 US troops are participating in the joint exercise – Arctic Forge 23  in Finnish Lapland and the Joint Viking exercise in Norway. They are preparing NATO for Arctic warfare. More than 10,000 troops from the UK, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway will join the Norwegian exercises.

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