Canada Vows to Defend Pole

New patrol vessels to venture out as Arctic tensions escalate with Russia
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Aug 10, 2007 2:56 PM CDT
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivers a speech after...   (Getty Images (by Event))
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(Newser) – As Russia presses claims to the North Pole, Canada is stepping up its defense of its Arctic territory and will no longer take its sovereignty "too lighty," PM Stephen Harper declared yesterday during an Arctic tour. Canada is building six patrol vessels to guard the icy territory where Russia planted a flag in the seabed last week, the BBC reports.

The five countries bordering the Arctic have jurisdiction over 200 miles of territorial waters, though can claim more if they prove their continental shelves link to the Arctic seabed.The disputed area is not owned by any single country but is governed by international agreements. Melting polar ice has spurred a flurry of competing claims over access to Arctic resources. (Read more Canada stories.)