The United States will open its first diplomatic post north of the Arctic Circle in Norway as climate change raises interest in the region, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Thursday.
The so-called observation post, generally staffed by a single American diplomat, will open in Tromso, the largest city in Norwegian Lapland, and be the northernmost United States diplomatic facility.
Speaking in Oslo at a NATO meeting, Blinken said the United States wanted to “work with like-minded allies to advance our vision of a peaceful, stable, prosperous and cooperative Arctic.”
“Our entire approach is to make sure that the Arctic remains an area of peaceful cooperation,” Blinken told reporters, saying the post would focus on climate change and working with indigenous people.
The United States, nearby Russia as well as China have increasingly viewed the Arctic as strategic as climate change decreases ice in the northern ocean.
In 2020, the United States, reopened a post in Nuuk, Greenland, which lies just south of the Arctic Circle.
Norway in May took over the chairmanship of the Arctic Council, a once low-key regional body whose meetings were largely suspended after member Russia invaded Ukraine.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said she was “very happy” with Washington’s decision.
“Norway and the United States have cooperated closely on Arctic issues for a long time,” Huitfeldt said in an e-mail sent by her office.
“I am sure that this will strengthen our cooperation with the United States further,” she added.