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Abstract

The Northwest Passage is a sea route – or, to be exact, it is a collected name for four routes – that connect Europe and East Asia. Despite its considerable length (it spans circa 5780 kilometers) and notorious nautical difficulties it provides a decent alternative to the route through the Panama Canal due to being roughly 4000 kilometers shorter. In the present day the route is seasonal and is predominately operated by Canadian entities. Recently however it has seen in-creased interest due to climate change. While Canada claims the waters of the Northwest Passage to be their internal waters, some experts say this claim, notwithstanding its historical grounds, may be deemed an abuse of sovereignty. Canada exercises creeping jurisdiction there, with Article 234 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982) as its sole justification. The United States, on the other hand, believes the Passage is in fact a strait connecting two areas of open sea and thus should remain part of international waters. On 11 January 1988 USA and Canada have signed an agreement on cooperation inthe Arctic. The Author predicts the more disagreements over the Northwest Passage in the coming years as the core problem continues to be unresolved.
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