Monday, 24 September, 2018

China publishes Arctic policy, eyeing vision of a 'Polar Silk Road'

China unveils vision for ‘Polar Silk Road’ across Arctic China's new Arctic policy sheds light on Polar Silk Road
| 28 January, 2018, 01:09

"Some people may have misgivings over our participation in the development of the Arctic, anxious we may have other intentions, or that we may plunder resources or damage the environment", Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou said.

China unveils huge plans for the Arctic, with "Polar Silk Road" on the way Beijing has announced plans to extend the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative to the Arctic by developing shipping routes.

China's first official Arctic policy white paper was released on Friday, laying out a vision for a 'Polar Silk Road'.

"China wants to play an important role, or even a leading role, in making the rules in the new spheres, since the traditional areas are already taken by the old powers", Jin said.

According to various media reports, China would work with Russian Federation and other Arctic countries to develop the polar route. "While pursuing its own interests, China will pay due regard to the interests of other countries and the broader worldwide community".

China will also regulate and manage Arctic-related affairs and activities within its jurisdiction in accordance with the law, steadily enhance its ability to understand, protect and develop the Arctic, and actively participate in global cooperation in Arctic affairs.


China has stepped up its engagement in the Arctic in recent years and was granted observer status on the Arctic Council in 2013, which gives it input on governance of the region.

"The country has actively conducted studies on these routes and continuously strengthened hydrographic surveys to improve navigation, security and logistics in the Arctic".

Focused on trade-boosting infrastructure projects along the path of the ancient Silk Road, the Belt and Road Initiative aims to connect China to Europe, the Middle East and beyond. The country encourages its companies to participate in infrastructure construction and commercial activity on Arctic shipping routes, as well as in the development of oil, gas and mineral resources there, the document says.

The document said that Beijing will "enhance its ability to understand, protect and develop the Arctic, and participate in worldwide cooperation in Arctic affairs".

The land territories in the Arctic cover an area of about 8 million square kilometres, whose sovereignty belongs to Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the US. Vice Foreign Minister Kong Xuanyou told reporters it was completely "unnecessary" to worry that Beijing had ulterior motives, or that it would plunder the Arctic's resources and destroy its environment.

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