Arctic policy of China

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Arctic Policy of China is China's foreign relations with Arctic countries, and the Chinese government's attitudes and actions on issues occurring within the geographic boundaries of "the Arctic" or related to the Arctic or its peoples.

As of 2010, Chinese leaders promote cautious Arctic policies so as to not provoke negative responses from the Arctic states. At the same time China is trying to position itself not to be excluded from access to the Arctic. China appears particularly wary of Russia’s Arctic intentions. Chinese observers have noted Russia’s decision to resume bomber flights over the Arctic and the planting of a Russian flag on the Arctic seabed, both in August 2007.[1]

As of March, 2012, there was no authoritative statement of policy from the Chinese government on the Arctic, although Chinese scientists and academics increasingly are active in the region, and suggesting policies for the nation.[2]

Arctic Council Permanent Observer Status[edit]

China is a permanent observer of the Arctic Council since May 2013.[3] At the 2009 ministerial meeting in Tromso, China requested Permanent Observer status. The request was denied at least partly because members could not agree on the role of Observer States. China's request was approved at the next Arctic Council ministerial meeting in May 2013.[4] Permanent observer status would allow presentation of their perspective, but not voting.

Interest in Arctic Resources[edit]

In March 2010, Chinese Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo famously said: “The Arctic belongs to all the people around the world, as no nation has sovereignty over it. . . . China must plan an indispensable role in Arctic exploration as we have one-fifth of the world’s population.”[5] 88-95% of resources in the Arctic fall within one of the five Arctic Ocean coastal states Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ's) and China is unlikely to challenge the provision within the Law of the Sea that creates the EEZ's. This, coupled with Chinese companies lack of Arctic expertise, suggest that China will partner with Arctic nations in resource extraction rather than act alone.[6]

Arctic Shipping Routes[edit]

The maritime shipping distance from Shanghai to Hamburg is about 4,000 miles shorter via the Northern Sea Route than the southern route through the Strait of Malacca and the Suez Canal.[7] China has the largest foreign embassy in Reykjavik, anticipating Iceland becoming an important transhipment hub.[8]

Chinese Arctic experts have pointed out the limitations of Arctic sea routes, including harsh conditions, more icebergs due to melting of Greenland's icecap, higher insurance premiums, lack of infrastructure and shallow depths.[9]

China has remained neutral on Canada's position that the Northwest Passage is in Canada's internal waters.[10]

Arctic Research[edit]

China joined the International Arctic Science Committee in 1996.[11]

China joined the Svalbard Treaty in 1925, and the Polar Research Institute of China established its Arctic Yellow River Station on Svalbard in 2003.

China spends about as much as South Korea on Arctic research (much more than the United States).[12]

In August 2012, Xuě Lóng became the first Chinese vessel to traverse the Northern Sea Route.[13] A second Chinese icebreaker is slated for launch in 2014.[14]

See also[edit]


FU.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission Staff Research Report is a dead link.

External links[edit]