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Donald Trump's climate stance looms over Arctic meeting

12 May 2017

The intergovernmental group has stated it aims to facilitate cooperation among the eight states and Arctic indigenous communities and focuses on sustainable development and environmental protection of the region.

Earlier, Tillerson said the Trump administration was still reviewing its climate change policies, notwithstanding his signature on the Arctic Council's latest declaration. "It will also bring the world's attention to the strong and generous people who live in the Arctic, whose culture and way of life is a priority in any discussion on the future of the Arctic".

(AP Photo/Mark Thiessen). U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks at the welcoming ceremony to kick off Arctic Council events in Fairbanks, Alaska, on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. Russian Federation will be represented at the meeting by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov who left for Washington on Tuesday to hold talks with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on his way to Alaska. But those issues will provide a backdrop as the chairmanship of the council passes from the U.S.to Finland. Tillerson is among those advocating for the U.S.to remain part of the agreement, brokered in 2015 by more than 190 nations.

He has since launched a review of United States participation in the deal, but the White House revealed this week that no decision will be made until Trump returns from Europe on May 27.

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (AP) - Arctic nations have renewed calls for the world to address climate warming, but U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the United States will not rush to make a decision on its policies. It noted "entry into force" of the pact "and its implementation", and called for global action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

Still, Tillerson's signing of the document surprised a source close to the State Department.

Nordic countries, including Finland, which takes over leadership of the Arctic Council from the United States, this month issued a statement affirming the Paris agreement and pledging continued leadership on climate issues. "We are pleased to work with our neighbours and partners-the other Arctic countries and Indigenous Peoples in the Arctic-to build sustainable northern economies and take action to protect the Arctic environment for the benefit of Northerners and all Canadians".

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He also said he was prepared to go to Pyongyang "if the conditions are right". Both Moon and Xi agreed that denuclearising North Korea was a "common goal".

"He said, well, you know, we ought to first establish our climate policy and then decide on the Paris Agreement and how it relates", Wallstrom told The Associated Press.

At issue is the abrupt change in the US position on the Paris Agreement since the November election.

Cooperation within the Arctic Council has not stopped Moscow and Washington from hurling mounting accusations at each other about attempts to militarize the region.

This is the second time that Singapore is attending the ministerial meeting since becoming an observer state of the council in 2013, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) noted in a statement on Tuesday. Soini said Arctic resources and transportation routes may attract interest.

"And the United States will remain engaged in the work that the Arctic Council does on climate change throughout", he added.

The Arctic Council meeting begins at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 11th, at the Carlson Center in Fairbanks. Protesters gathered in a city park nearby to denounce the presence of Tillerson, who was president of Exxon Mobil Corp.