- About China’s Arctic policy
- About Arctic Ocean
China Issues Its Arctic Policy: Reveals its ‘Polar Silk Road’ ambition
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China released its first official Arctic policy white paper, outlining its ambition for a “Polar Silk Road” amid growing concerns over China’s activities in the region.
About China’s Arctic policy:
Specifically, China will mainly focus its attention on four aspects.
- China will participate in the development of Arctic shipping routes which are composed of the Northeast Passage, Northwest Passage, and the Central Passage.
- Noting that “the Arctic shipping routes are likely to become important transport routes for international trade” as a result of global warming, China plans to build a “Polar Silk Road” by developing the Arctic shipping routes.
- To that end, China will encourage “its enterprises to participate in the infrastructure construction for these routes and conduct commercial trial voyages.”
- China aims to participate “in the exploration for and exploitation of oil, gas, mineral and other non-living resources” in the Arctic. However, the white paper also places a particular emphasis on nontraditional energy sources.
- The Arctic region boasts an abundance of geothermal, wind, and other clean energy resources. China will work with the Arctic States to strengthen clean energy cooperation.
- China will start to utilize fisheries and other living resources and participate in conservation, since “the Arctic has the potential to become a new fishing ground in the future.”
- In recent years, Chinese fishermen have been sailing farther and farther abroad in search of fertile fishing grounds; including, unfortunately, illegal fishing.
- China will develop Arctic tourism, which the paper described as “an emerging industry.”
- China will support and encourage “its enterprises to cooperate with Arctic States in developing tourism in the region” and conduct “training for and regulates Chinese tourism agencies and professionals involved in Arctic tourism.”
- China is an important stakeholder in Arctic affairs. Geographically, China is a ‘Near-Arctic State’, one of the continental States that are closest to the Arctic Circle.
- The natural conditions of the Arctic and their changes have a direct impact on China’s climate system and ecological environment, and, in turn, on its economic interests in agriculture, forestry, fishery, marine industry and other sectors.
- Despite being a non-Arctic state, China is increasingly active in the polar region. In 2013, it became an observer member of the Arctic Council — a high-level intergovernmental forum which especially addresses Arctic issues.
- The country has a major stake in the Russian Yamal liquefied natural gas (LNG) project, which is expected to supply China with 4 million tons of LNG per year.
- Some people doubt China’s participation in Arctic affairs and worry China will plunder resources and damage the environment.
- Although Beijing maintained that China’s Arctic policy is based on the principle of “respect, cooperation, win-win results and sustainability,” some analysts have raised concerns over China’s increasing prominence in the region.
About Arctic Ocean:
- The Arctic Ocean is the smallest and shallowest of the world’s five major oceans.
- The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) recognizes it as an ocean, although some oceanographers call it the Arctic Mediterranean Sea or simply the Arctic Sea, classifying it a mediterranean sea or an estuary of the Atlantic Ocean.
- Located mostly in the Arctic north polar region in the middle of the Northern Hemisphere, the Arctic Ocean is almost completely surrounded by Eurasia and North America.
- The Arctic Ocean is more than 12 million square km, where coastal and other countries share maritime rights and interests according to international law.
- Land territories in the Arctic cover an area of around 8 million square km, with sovereignty belonging to Russia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Canada and the United States.