Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has launched a new report entitled "China and the High North prepare for an ice-free Arctic" dealing with the emerging interest of China on the anticipated Arctic Ocean shipping routes. The report is written by Linda Jakobson, the Acting Programme Director and Beijing-based Senior Researcher of the China and Global Security Programme of SIPRI, and is based on material gathered from officials, scholars and other primary sources in China.
The main theme of the report is that despite the fact that China has no official Arctic policy "the country does appear to have a clear agenda regarding the Arctic". Until now, China has mainly concentrated on the melting sea ice in the Arctic and its impact on China from the environmental point of view, but many Chinese academics are pointing out that China must broaden its focus from environmental issues to cover commercial and political issues as well.
Hu Zhengyue, Chinese assistant minister of foreign affairs stated in Arctic forum organized by the Norwegian Government on Svalbard in June 2009 that China supports Arctic countries' sovereign and judicial rights under international law, pointing though out the need of refinement and development of the contemporary international law due to the circumstances that are arising from the melting of the ice. China points out that despite that large areas of the Arctic are under jurisdiction of coastal Arctic states, the Arctic cannot be seen as a regional matter only, due to the many international implications the emerging shpping routes and possible energy exploitation will have in future.
To read the SIPRI press release and download the report, please click here