Not Stopping Cold : China’s Emerging Strategies in the Arctic

Jeudi 12 janvier 2017

China Observatory

By Marc Lanteigne (Norwegian Institute of International Affairs)

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In comparison with that of the eight states which border the Arctic Ocean, and other countries such as those in Western and Central Europe which have experienced long histories of exploration in the north circumpolar region, China’s Arctic policy remains very much a work in progress. Although Beijing, under President Xi Jinping, has greatly expanded its Arctic policies, both political and economic, over the past decade, there is yet to be an issue-specific governmental plan published which outlines China’s emerging interests in the Arctic (and the Antarctic). Until recently, Chinese policymakers were also somewhat reluctant to publically describe the country’s Arctic affairs except in very broad dimensions. For example, in 2009 when asked about the subject, a senior Chinese foreign policy official stated for the record that Beijing does not have an Arctic strategy’. The main reason for such modesty was the general view in Chinese foreign policy circles that the country’s Arctic affairs had not evolved to the degree that such a document was required, either for domestic or international consumption.

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