Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Why is China Interested in the Arctic?


Soon China could hold two of the largest icebreakers in the world, China will be able to offer "escort" services through the Arctic, saving some 6,000nm between production plants in China and consumers in Europe - just think of the strategic market advantage - because of two ice class vessels - now thats a good investment.

China’s Arctic Ambitions


Today’s idea: China has set its sights on the Arctic, an article says, since global warming is expected to transform the frozen region into new shipping lanes over an ocean rich in oil and natural gas.


World | The United States, Russia, Canada and other countries near the Arctic have claim upon it, but China? Whether it does or not, Paul McLearywrites in World Politics Review, it’s making its move. The notable holdout on climate-emissions cutbacks has been expanding its navy and its quest for resources and land from Latin America to Africa to the Middle East. Now this:
… It’s not what China has done so far, but instead what it appears to be planning to do, that has raised eyebrows among members of the Arctic Council [the federation of Arctic powers].
Specifically, not only does the Beijing government operate the world’s largest non-nuclear icebreaker — the Xuelong (Snow Dragon), purchased from Ukraine in 1993 — but in October 2009, China’s State Council declared that that Xuelong needed “brothers and sisters,” approving construction of a $300 million Chinese-built icebreaker expected to be operational in 2013. Between the two ships, China will have larger and more modern icebreakers than either the United States or Canada. While the new vessel is smaller than the Xuelong, with a displacement of 8,000 tons to the Xuelong’s 21,000 tons, its construction is a bold statement from a country that would benefit from the seasonal shipping lanes many expect to open up over the next several decades, as well as from the possibility of future oil and gas extraction in the unclaimed far north.
China- and Arctic-watchers have also noted that the new Chinese Embassy in Reykjav√≠k, Iceland, will be the largest in the capital, and that the Chinese have been making investment overtures in the country since the island nation’s economy collapsed in 2008. The Chinese, as usual, have been circumspect about all of this activity. [World Politics Review]
Further reading: http://www.google.com/search?sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=china+arctic


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