lørdag 4. mai 2019

China's Arctic policy: How China aligns rights and interests

Unlike the Arctic states, China has no territorial sovereignty and related sovereign rights to resource extraction and fishing in the Arctic. Faced with very limited rights as a non-Arctic state, China has been eager to design strategies to bridge the widening gap between the legal and institutional constraints in the Arctic and its growing Arctic interests. It has developed a self-defined Arctic identity as a 'near-Arctic state' and sought – and in 2013 gained – observer status in the Arctic Council, to prepare the ground for a future expanded foothold in the region.

China's first-ever white paper on Arctic policy of 26 January 2018 seeks to justify the country's Arctic ambitions through its history of Arctic research and the challenges and opportunities that rapid climate change in the Arctic present the country. China acknowledges for the first time that its Arctic interests are no longer limited to scientific research but extend to a variety of commercial activities. These are embedded in a new China-led cooperation initiative which aims to build a 'Polar Silk Road' that connects China with Europe via the Arctic and corresponds to one of two new 'blue ocean passages' extending from China's 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, launched in 2013.