China and the Arctic: Objectives and Obstacles   [open pdf - 712KB]

"Although there is no authoritative statement of policy from the Chinese government on the Arctic, scientists and academics in China are increasingly showing interest in the region, and suggesting policies and actions for the nation. Given that the United States is an Arctic littoral state* with interests in the region, this memo seeks to provide an overview of Chinese environmental, energy, economic, and security interests in the increasingly open and navigable Arctic. It is the consensus of many within the scientific community that large areas of the Arctic region will be ice-free during summer months in the coming decades. This potential environmental transformation will likely have profound impacts on regional and global trade and security, especially related to shipping patterns and resource extraction activities. While China is not an Arctic littoral state, the melting of Arctic sea ice will impact China's environmental, energy, and trade circumstances. As a result, official and unofficial Chinese actors have expressed greater interest in the forthcoming 'opening' of the Arctic in recent years. However, without a claim to territory in the region, China is largely excluded from regional politics and regulatory management of Arctic resources. For this reason, China has thus far pursued a low-profile approach in its policies toward the region, and will likely have to rely on the invitation and cooperation of the Arctic states -- especially Russia and Canada -- in order to advance its interests there."

Public Domain
Retrieved From:
U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission: http://www.uscc.gov/
Media Type:
Help with citations