U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence speaks to the Press after a meeting with business leaders at the US Ambassador to Ireland Edward Crawford residence in Dublin, Ireland September 3, 2019. REUTERS/Lorraine O’Sullivan
REYKJAVIK (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said during a visit to Iceland on Wednesday that Russia and China were increasingly active across the Arctic region.
Amid growing divisions in the polar region over melting ice and access to minerals, the United States has expressed concerns that Russia is behaving aggressively in the Arctic and said China’s actions there have to be watched closely as well.
Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump’s cancelled a visit to Denmark after his idea to buy resource-rich Greenland was rebuffed.
“We commend Iceland’s coast guard and we are grateful for the security cooperation and presence of U.S. forces in and out of Iceland,” said Pence after meeting Icelandic President Gudni Johannesson in Reykjavik.
Johannesson, who met Pence at Hofdi House, scene of an historic 1986 summit between U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, said all nations should try to avoid a scramble for the region.
Reporting by Alexandra Alper in Reykjavik, writing by Stine Jacobsen; Editing by Catherine Evans