Bigger Chinese role sought in the Arctic

Updated: 2014-02-18 00:10

(China Daily)

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Cooperation between China and Denmark as well as other Arctic players can benefit both sides, analysts said.

"China's cooperation with Denmark in Arctic affairs can help promote local employment and increase the people's living standards," Xia said.

"Cooperation in natural resources could diversify and secure China's energy sources," Jia said.

Lorenzen and Andersen came to China amid suspicion about China's "ambition" in the resources-rich region, after it gained long-awaited observer status in the Arctic Council in May.

"China's energy cooperation with Denmark in the Arctic is similar to cooperation projects with other countries. China's interest and involvement in the Arctic are more for having options in case of emergency rather than resource plundering," Jia said.

In an earlier interview, Danish Ambassador Friis Arne Petersen said China has "natural and legitimate economic and scientific interests in the Arctic".

There are five nations with territory near the Arctic circle — Canada, Norway, Russia, the United States and Denmark (through Greenland).

The five nations are currently allotted an exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles from their northern coasts. In December, the Canadian government asked scientists to work on a submission to the United Nations, saying that the outer limits of Canada's territory include the North Pole.

Russia made a similar claim in 2001. Shortly after Ottawa's announcement, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia's military to increase its focus on the Arctic.

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