Opinion: China and the Arctic

Chinese MV Xue Long in the Arctic waters.

By Anders Lorenzen

At the recent Arctic Council meeting which this year took place in Kiruna, Sweden representations from the eight Arctic countries: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway Sweden, Russia and the USA met to discuss the future of the Arctic. China, along with India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Singapore and Italy were adopted as new members with observer status only.

The Arctic is ongoing significant transformations as a result of climate change – but even though the Arctic Council recognises this as a critical issue, a lot of focus remains on how to take advantage of what the damage of climate change presents us with; increased opportunities of oil and gas exploitation, new mining and shipping routes.

I welcome the inclusion of China as well other economic super powers if their interests is not economical. One of the only raw materials China is not rich on is oil. Its middle class are expanding rapidly, its car usage and industry are growing faster than anywhere else on the planet and they’re desperate to get hold of more oil to fuel that.


Climate change shows what happens in the Arctic doesn’t stay in the Arctic, every country should be involved in the process of how to protect this vulnerable region which affects us all, and not only some powerful economies whose interests only seem to be economic. The council should instead be looking at Greenpeace’s proposal to make the Arctic a global sanctuary, just as Antarctica was years ago.


Sub edited by Charlotte Paton
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