Thursday, October 18, 2007

Euro Results Notwithstanding, British Empire Marches On

While next summer's European Championships could take place without all four British sides, John Bull still has a couple of reasons to be proud about the UK. Great Britain announced yesterday that it plans to extend its Antarctic territory by 1 million square kilometers.

Her Majesty's Antarctic land grab is only one of five new territorial claims the UK plans to submit under a new U.N. treaty that allows countries to claim continental shelf up to 380 miles off their shores. Britain's four other claims are located around the Falkland Islands, around Ascension Island in the South Atlantic, near the Bay of Biscay in the North Atlantic, and in the Hatton-Rockall basin off Scotland's coast.

Of course, the Antarctic machinations have already come under fire from environmental groups as being antithetical to the UK's status as a leader in the fight against global warming. The new territory would likely be used for oil and gas exploration, critics point out, thus violating the 1959 Antarctic treaty. The treaty divides the continent between seven nations and forbids resource extraction.

Concerning the Falklands claim, it does conjure up certain previous, how should I put this, territorial disputes in that region. When the claim was announced last month, a senior Argentine official stated: "[I]f the British do not change their approach we shall have to interpret it as aggression."

Now, Argentina is working on its own Antarctica bid. Save a military junta, sounds a little like 1982, doesn't it?

Euro 2008 Qualifying round standings []
UK looks to make Antarctica claim [BBC]
Green groups condemn UK's claim in Antarctica [Guardian]
Argentina fury at UK bid for Falkland seas [Daily Telegraph]


No comments: