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The Purpose of Chinese Icebreakers in the Arctic

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Technical Report,14 Aug 2017,15 Jun 2018

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US Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth United States

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The Arctic is home to much of the worlds undiscovered resources, including rare minerals, oil, and natural gas. Climate change and the resulting receding ice within the region is starting to uncover new opportunities for resource exploitation and improved trade routes. The Peoples Republic of China sees economic prosperity and resources as being necessary to secure their current government model. They rely heavily on imported resources from the Middle East. Multiple chokepoints along current navigable routes, coupled with piracy and the instability associated with the Middle East has led China to seek new opportunities through cooperation with new partners. The Arctic region is comprised of the eight Arctic countries whose boarders fall within the Arctic region. China is not an Arctic state, but has recently acquired permanent observer status on the Arctic Council, the leading form of regional governance in the Arctic. By taking a leading role in areas of scientific research and navigational safety, while simultaneously partnering with Arctic states and the indigenous people, China has successfully established itself within the Arctic region. Its icebreakers are the strategic cornerstone in achieving its interests in the Arctic.

Subject Categories:

  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Marine Engineering

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