posted on Aug, 6 2005 @ 08:31 PM
Hans Island, situated just off the coast of Greenland, is a tiny uninhabited island approximately 1.3 square kilometers in size. Both Canada and
Denmark are now laying claim to the island. The actions in 1973 by the two governments to draw a set of boundaries in the region failed to include
the issue of Hans Island. A recent unannounced visit to Hans Island by Canadian Foreign Minister Bill Graham has upset Denmark, and brought this
issue to the international stage.
Defence Minister Bill Graham set off a diplomatic row with Denmark when he re-stated claim to tiny Hans Island in the far north last weekend, but
what's really at stake is Canadian sovereignty over more important sites in the Arctic.
"Hans Island itself is a small and economically insignificant piece of rock," Rob Heubert, an Arctic expert with Centre for Military and Strategic
Studies, said on CTV's Question Period.
If we're not firm with Hans Islands, which by the way is the only sovereignty issue that concerns land, we're going to be setting up a terrible
precedent for remaining issues that are very significant for Canadian Arctic sovereignty."
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
The dispute here, while ostensibly about Hans Island, is really much deeper. Hans Island itself is a worthless piece of rock, and is not the issue
at stake. Both countries are worried about the precedent that would be set if they allowed the other country to hold sole claim over the island. The
two nations fear that relinquishing claim over Hans Island could risk claims to other disputed areas, such as the dispute between Canada and the
United States over other areas in the Arctic.
Fortunately, both Canada and Denmark are peaceful, democratic nations, and they will probably allow this issue to be settled by some international
body, most likely by a United Nations court.
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