Russia's use of CLCS to validate its claim over Lomonsov ridge is an example of their use of lawfare to the disadvantage of the US
[ Page 13-14 ]
Recent geopolitical developments in the Arctic region highlight yet another circumstance where both UNCLOS and U.S. national security interests are implicated, as thawing Arctic floes have brought the Arctic Ocean's untapped resource and navigation potential increasingly to the fore. States with Arctic Ocean borders-United States, Canada, Russia, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden-are, therefore, concerned with the full spectrum of national security implications-political, economic, and military-associated with increased Arctic Ocean maritime transit and resource related activity. Conflicting claims to the Arctic Ocean's waters and seabed have already commenced. A prime example is Russia's 2007 claim to the Lomonosov Ridge a 1,200 mile long undersea swath in the vicinity of the North Pole as part of its continental shelf.68 While the Lomonosov Ridge is currently considered beyond the jurisdictional reach of any country and, therefore, administered by the ISA, confirmation of its claim to exclusive resource extraction rights. "70 Indeed the trend toward utilizing the CLCS appears to be intensifying, and will likely play a central role in de-conflicting Arctic Ocean claims. One such indication is the 500% year to year increase in petitions submitted to the CLCS from 2008 to 2009. As in the East and South China Sea, it appears likely that UNCLOS and its regulatory entities will play acritical role in economic and national security "scrum" beginning to play out in the Arctic region.
Tension between Russia and other Arctic nations will remain high as they continue to compete for Arctic territory. Maintaining UNCLOS as a viable legal framework for settling Arctic territorial claims should help avert potential confrontations between Russia and other UNCLOS members.