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Tags Current Affairs

Polar Silk Road

Date: 27 September 2020 Tags: Miscellaneous

Issue

China has outlined its ambitions to extend Belt and Road Initiative to the Arctic by developing shipping lanes opened up by global warming.

 

Background

China said it would encourage enterprises to build infrastructure and conduct commercial trial voyages, paving the way for Arctic shipping routes that would form a “Polar Silk Road”.

 

Details

  • China is becoming a preferred partner for Russia and Nordic countries in a number of infrastructure, energy, and transportation projects within the Arctic region.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • China’s increasing prominence in the region has prompted concerns from Arctic states over its long-term strategic objectives, including possible military deployment.

  • China also eyes development of oil, gas, mineral resources and other non-fossil energies, fishing, and tourism in the region. It said it would do so jointly with Arctic States.

  • China’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 Xi’s desire for China to take on a more prominent global leadership role.

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