U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has called on nations to cooperate to avoid conflict as they develop the rapidly thawing Arctic region.
In a speech on Friday in Halifax, Canada, Hagel also repeated that the United States will "exercise sovereignty" in order to maintain freedom of navigation in the region.
He added that Washington will seek deeper military ties with other Arctic states, including Russia and Canada.
Last year, Arctic ice shrank to its lowest levels since observation from satellite began in the 1970s, and experts believe that by 2050, summer ice will vanish in the Arctic altogether due to global climate change.
As the ice melts, competition is increasing to develop energy resources and control transportation lanes.
In September Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia will reestablish a Soviet-era base to patrol the Northern Sea route.
(Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters)