Concerns over Beijing’s hopes of developing the Arctic are unnecessary, vice-foreign minister says
“Shipping through the Northern Sea Route would shave almost 20 days off the regular time using the traditional route through the Suez Canal, the newspaper reported last month.”
Jan 26, 2018
China on Friday outlined its ambitions to extend President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative to the Arctic by developing shipping lanes opened up by global warming.
Releasing its first official Arctic policy white paper, China said it would encourage enterprises to build infrastructure and conduct commercial trial voyages, paving the way for Arctic shipping routes.
“China hopes to work with all parties to build a ‘Polar Silk Road’ through developing the Arctic shipping routes,” said the paper, which is issued by the State Council Information Office.
Xi’s Belt and Road initiative aims to connect China to Europe, the Middle East and beyond via massive infrastructure projects across dozens of countries, reflecting the president’s desire for China to take on a more prominent global leadership role.
China, despite being a non-Arctic state, is increasingly active in the polar region and became an observer member of the Arctic Council in 2013.
Shorter shipping routes
Among its increasing interests in the region is its major stake in Russia’s Yamal liquefied natural gas project which is expected to supply China with four million tonnes of LNG a year, according to the state-run China Daily.