China’s Artic goals examined by Norwegian Scholars

The Chinese icebreaking research vessel Xue Long – or Ice Dragon – has played a key part in Chinese capacity building in the Arctic since the 1990s. Photo: dracophylla

China’s goals in developing its influence in the Artic region is examined in an article on the website of the Arctic Institute – an independent organization headquartered in Washington, D.C with participation from all the Nordic countries, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.

In later years, Arctic nations such as Denmark, Sweden and Norway have increasingly singled China out unilaterally as a potential threat to the current status quo in the Arctic. The recently delivery of a second icebreaker to China with technical support from the Finnish Aker Group was a reminder of this concern.

The article on https://www.thearcticinstitute.org/increasing-security-focus-china-arctic-policy/ finds that the reality is a middle ground between how China describes its own Arctic strategy and the most critical Western analyses.

“There is currently little available evidence to suggest that China will pursue a military course in the Arctic similar to, or aligning with, Russia. Commercial development appears to be China’s main goal, but it is evident that China is building its capacity to enforce its perceived rights and protect its interests through an increasingly security-focused Arctic strategy that is backed up by the military,” writes the authors Johan Martin Seland and Heljar Havnes.

Both Johan Martin Seland and Heljar Havnes are Norwegians and both are scheduled to graduate this year 2019 from Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy in Singapore.

Johan Martin Seland was previously an intern at the Norwegian Embassy in Kthmandu, Nepal. Heljar Havnes was a journalist at Dagens Naeringsliv and prior to that an intern at the Norwegian Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

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