Antarctica has no government, although various countries claim sovereignty in certain regions. While a few of these countries have mutually recognized each others claims, the validity of these claims is generally not recognized universally.----------
New claims on Antarctica have been suspended since 1959 and the continent is considered politically neutral. Its status is regulated by the 1959 Antarctic Treaty and other related agreements, collectively called the Antarctic Treaty System. Antarctica is defined as all land and ice shelves south of 60° S for the purposes of the Treaty System. The treaty was signed by twelve countries including the Soviet Union (and later Russia), the United Kingdom, Argentina, Chile, Australia, and the United States. It set aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, established freedom of scientific investigation and environmental protection, and banned military activity on the continent. This was the first arms control agreement established during the Cold War.
-----------Currently there are seven claimant nations who maintain a territorial claim on eight territories in Antarctica. These countries have tended to site their scientific observation and study facilities in Antarctica within their claimed territory.
It is sometimes stated that the Antarctic Treaty defers or suspends these claims. However, Article IV(2) states that it does not affect (neither confirm not deny) existing claims: “No acts or activities taking place while the present Treaty is in force shall constitute a basis for asserting, supporting or denying a claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica. No new claim, or enlargement of an existing claim, to territorial sovereignty shall be asserted while the present Treaty is in force.”