Canada to Make Territorial Claim to North Pole
    2013-12-10 15:07:51     Xinhua       Web Editor: Wang

Canada plans to extend its territorial claims in the Arctic to include the North Pole, although it currently lacks enough scientific evidence to support the claim, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Monday.

Baird said government officials and scientists need to do "additional and necessary work" to ensure the submission to the United Nations (UN), put forward Friday to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS), includes the North Pole.

"In the coming months and years we'll be able to finalize our submission for the Arctic," he said. "We would try to exert as much Canadian territory and Canadian sovereignty as possible."

The claim concerns territorial rights in both the Atlantic seabed and the Arctic seabed, and though the material submitted defining the outer limits of Canada's continental shelf in the Atlantic is based on scientific findings, the material for the Arctic sector is based on "preliminary findings."

Eying the mineral and oil-rich Atlantic Ocean and the Arctic Ocean, Canada is involved in a significant mapping exercise of the areas. A country can claim the ocean floor beyond the 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone limit if it can demonstrate that the seabed is a natural extension of its continental shelf, according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Canada ratified the UN convention in 2003, and it has a ten-year period to make claims to an extended continental shelf upon ratification of the convention, according to the CLCS.

What Canada lacks is full mapping and research with respect to an undersea mountain range, the Lomonosov Ridge, Baird said.

Canada, the United States, Norway, Russia and Denmark have been collecting scientific evidence for more that a decade in an effort to increase their territories in the Atlantic and the Arctic.

Baird pointed out that the CLCS only provides recommendations on any territorial claims, and that it would be up to Canada to reach a diplomatic solution over disputing claims with other countries.

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