US upgrades Arctic engagement with new ambassadorial post

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration said Friday it will upgrade its engagement with the Arctic Council and countries with an interest in a region that's rapidly changing due to climate change.

The State Department said the U.S. will appoint an ambassador-at-large for the Arctic to deal with national security, environmental and development issues in the far North. The U.S. has had an Arctic coordinator for many years, but the upgraded position may bring new energy to the job.

President Joe Biden “plans to elevate the Arctic Coordinator position by appointing an Ambassador-at-Large for the Arctic Region, subject to the advice and consent of the Senate,” the State Department said in a statement.

Friday’s announcement did not nominate a person to take the post.

The Arctic has been a hotbed of activity in recent years as warming seas have reduced ice coverage and opened new shipping lanes. Russia, in particular, has made the Arctic a priority, something that has concerned the U.S. China, while not an Arctic nation, has also made moves in the region.

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