The Biden administration will create an ambassador-at-large position for the Arctic Region to help shore up competition, as China and Russia expand their presence in the area.
The position, unveiled by the State Department on Friday, will work with state, local, and tribal governments, as well as other agencies to advance U.S. policy in the region, including working on climate change.
“An Arctic region that is peaceful, stable, prosperous, and cooperative is of critical strategic importance to the United States and a priority for Secretary Blinken,” said Vedant Patel, deputy spokesman for the Bureau of Global Public Affairs.
The position will be subject to Senate confirmation. No names have yet been submitted on who may be considered for the role.
Russia has advanced its presence with warplanes and submarines near the north pole in recent years. China has also been building Arctic research stations, and is expected to continue to expand its reign in the region.
The advances come as climate breakdowns open up waterways for commercial and military vessels.
Currently, the U.S. only has an “Arctic coordinator” position, which will be stepped up into the ambassadorship.
The U.S. is also one of eight nations in the global Arctic Council, which also includes Denmark, Canada, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland.
However, many of the Arctic nations have suspended their participation in talks due to Russia currently holding the council’s rotating chairmanship.