• The US has fallen behind other countries in developing a presence in the Arctic, according to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
  • But the Coast Guard’s commander in the region says the US is on good terms with its neighbors, citing logistics and resources as his main concerns.
  • The Coast Guard is working to bolster its icebreaker fleet.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson sent another signal that the US is increasingly attentive to the Arctic and looking to catch up with other countries that are active in the region.

Melting ice has raised interest in shipping, mining, energy exploration, and other enterprises in the Arctic — not only among countries that border it, but also in countries farther afield, like China.

The Arctic “is important today,” Tillerson said during an event at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC, on Tuesday. “It’s going to be increasingly important in the future, particularly as those waterways have opened up.”