During Iceland visit, Pence plans to talk about Arctic ‘incursions’ by China, Russia: official

Trump administration officials have increasingly framed U.S. engagement in the Arctic in terms of opposition to Russia and China.

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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence gestures to supporters at a campaign rally for U.S. President Donald Trump in Cincinnati, Ohio, on August 1, 2019. (Bryan Woolston / Reuters file photo)

WASHINGTON — Vice President Mike Pence, in a visit to Iceland next week, will have talks about ‘incursions’ into the Arctic Circle by China and Russia, a senior Trump administration official said on Wednesday.

Pence leaves on Tuesday on a trip that will take him to Iceland, Britain and Ireland.

In London, he will have talks with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that will include a discussion about Johnson’s efforts to separate Britain from the European Union.

In Ireland, he will have talks with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar in Dublin and will make a side trip to Shannon for events celebrating his Irish heritage.

Amid growing divisions in the polar region, the United States has expressed concerns that Russia is behaving aggressively in the Arctic and that China’s actions there have to be watched closely as well.

The official, who spoke to a group of reporters on condition of anonymity, said the topic will come up during Pence’s visit to Iceland.

“Part of our conversations there will be national security-focused,” the official.

Reporting By Steve Holland.