COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Denmark filed an official claim on the North Pole, making it the first country to do so.
Danish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard hailed the claim on the North Pole an "Historical moment!"
"The objective of this huge project," Lidegaard said in a statement, "is to define the outer limits of our continental shelf and thereby -- ultimately -- of the Kingdom of Denmark."
The submission, filed by both Denmark and Greenland on Monday with the United Nations, was authorized by the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Under the U.N. Convention, nations may extend their continental shelf 200 nautical miles from their coast. If the claim exceeds 200 nautical miles, however, scientific and technical data must be submitted for consideration by the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf.
"That these countries have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the determination of their outer limits tells us how important the Arctic has become," Rob Huebert, an Arctic expert at the University of Calgary, told the Financial Times.
The Danish Mission to the U.N. tweeted Monday that a "Partial submission on North Cont[inental] Shelf of Greenland inc[luding] North Pole today filed to the U.N. Cont[inental] Shelf Com[mittee]."
The Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs acknowledged that the timetable for the Commission's consideration of the claim is unclear. "Submissions by many states already await consideration by CLCS, and it is therefore difficult to predict when the consideration of this Danish/Greenland submission will be initiated."
Greenland is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of Denmark.