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]

As of January 2018, China has released its Arctic Policy[3]. The document draws a picture of how China views the economic possibilities the region offers. With this, China has vowed to actively participate in Arctic affairs as a “near-Arctic State” and a major stakeholder in the Arctic[4].

Background[edit]

Interest in the Arctic region is not limited to littoral states, as many non-arctic countries have been admitted as members or observer at the Arctic Council. These include France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, India and China. While China has been steadily affirming its presence in the region (some academics even referred their country as "near-Arctic"[5]) the debate among scholars, media and the public is still ongoing as to what is its rightful place in the Arctic. The only unanimity among public voices appears to be that the Arctic belongs to humankind and not to any one country or group of countries.[6]

Some of the earliest scientific involvements are the Polar Research Institute of China of Shanghai, whose initial field research date from the late 1980s, as the well as the creation of the Chinese Journal of Polar Research by the Academy of Sciences in 1988.[7] The first expedition took place in 1984 and there have been 26 in total (as of 2011).[8]

Arctic Council Permanent Observer Status[edit]

China has been an observer of the Arctic Council since May 2013.[9][10] At the 2009 ministerial meeting in Tromsø, China requested Permanent Observer status. The request was denied at least partly because members could not agree on the role of Observer States. In 2011, the Arctic Council clarified its criteria for admission of observers, most notably including a requirement of applicants to "recognize Arctic States’ sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction in the Arctic" and "recognize that an extensive legal framework applies to the Arctic Ocean including, notably, the Law of the Sea, and that this framework provides a solid foundation for responsible management of this ocean".[10] China's request was approved at the next Arctic Council ministerial meeting in May 2013.[11] 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.”[12] 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.[13]

Arctic Shipping Routes[edit]

The maritime shipping distance from Shanghai to Hamburg is about 4,000 miles shorter via the Northeast Passage than the southern route through the Strait of Malacca and the Suez Canal.[14][10] China has the largest foreign embassy in Reykjavik, anticipating Iceland becoming an important transhipment hub.[15]

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.[16][10]

China has remained neutral on Canada's position that the Northwest Passage is in Canada's internal waters.[17]

Arctic Research[edit]

China joined the International Arctic Science Committee in 1996.[18]

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).[19]

In August 2012, Xuě Lóng became the first Chinese vessel to traverse the Northeast Passage.[20] A second Chinese icebreaker is slated for launch in 2014.[21]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ China Prepares for an Ice-Free Arctic
  2. ^ FU.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission Staff Research Report Archived 2012-10-02 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "Full text: China's Arctic Policy". english.gov.cn. Retrieved 2018-01-31. 
  4. ^ Jash, Amrita. "IPP REVIEW--China's Need to Build the "Polar Silk Road"". ippreview.com. Retrieved 2018-09-04. 
  5. ^ "China defines itself as a 'near-arctic state', says SIPRI". Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. 2012. 
  6. ^ Wright, David Curtis (2011). The dragon eyes the top of the world: Arctic policy debate and discussion in China (PDF). Naval War College Press. p. 8. 
  7. ^ Lasserre, Frédéric; et al. "China's strategy in the Arctic: threatening or opportunistic?". Polar Record: 31. doi:10.1017/S0032247415000765. 
  8. ^ Spears, Joseph (2011). "A Snow Dragon in the Arctic". Asia Times Online. 
  9. ^ Twelve non-arctic countries have been admitted as observers to the Arctic Council the Arctic Council
  10. ^ a b c d Buixadé Farré, Albert; Stephenson, Scott R.; Chen, Linling; Czub, Michael; Dai, Ying; Demchev, Denis; Efimov, Yaroslav; Graczyk, Piotr; Grythe, Henrik; Keil, Kathrin; Kivekäs, Niku; Kumar, Naresh; Liu, Nengye; Matelenok, Igor; Myksvoll, Mari; O'Leary, Derek; Olsen, Julia; Pavithran .A.P., Sachin; Petersen, Edward; Raspotnik, Andreas; Ryzhov, Ivan; Solski, Jan; Suo, Lingling; Troein, Caroline; Valeeva, Vilena; van Rijckevorsel, Jaap; Wighting, Jonathan (October 16, 2014). "Commercial Arctic shipping through the Northeast Passage: Routes, resources, governance, technology, and infrastructure". Polar Geography. Taylor & Francis. doi:10.1080/1088937X.2014.965769Freely accessible. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 5, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Snow dragons: As the Arctic melts, Asia shudders at the risks but slavers at the opportunities" The Economist
  12. ^ FU.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission Staff Research Report Archived 2012-10-02 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "Snow dragons: As the Arctic melts, Asia shudders at the risks but slavers at the opportunities" The Economist
  14. ^ "Snow dragons: As the Arctic melts, Asia shudders at the risks but slavers at the opportunities" The Economist
  15. ^ Wade, R., ‘A warmer Arctic needs shipping rules’, Financial Times, 16 Jan. 2008.
  16. ^ China Maritime Studies Institute: The Dragon Eyes the Top of the World, Naval War College
  17. ^ Naval War College - China Maritime Studies Institute: The Dragon Eyes the Top of the World
  18. ^ Naval War College - China Maritime Studies Institute: The Dragon Eyes the Top of the World
  19. ^ "Snow dragons: As the Arctic melts, Asia shudders at the risks but slavers at the opportunities" The Economist
  20. ^ Icebreaker Xuelong concludes Arctic expedition China Daily
  21. ^ "Snow dragons: As the Arctic melts, Asia shudders at the risks but slavers at the opportunities" The Economist

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

External links[edit]