Look to the North: in China see development cooperation in the Arctic and the Northern sea route

© RIA Novosti / Fred Greenbergian in fotobanka Laptev. Archival photoLook to the North: in China see development cooperation in the Arctic and the Northern sea route© RIA Novosti / Fred Greenbergian the image Bank

. China’s leadership in recent years actively promoting the idea of joint mutually beneficial cooperation of all countries in various areas, large-scale initiatives, China is not spared, and promising Arctic region that, on the one hand, it was encouraging, but concerns directly the Arctic countries. Official Beijing claims that encroach on the sovereign rights and jurisdiction of countries in the region do not intend to.

At the end of January this year, the Chinese government published the full text of the new policy in relation to the development, research and protection of the Arctic. Published the «White book» also contains the views of the Chinese leadership on opportunities for international cooperation in the region, a joint fight against the existing climatic challenges, conservation and research of the Arctic.

The published text, and in particular, Beijing put forward the proposal of creating an «Arctic of the silk road», has divided the world community into two camps, disputes which do not cease till now. Someone sees in China offers clear benefits and opportunities in the form of large investments, others fear that China, in the spirit of his Communist ideology and the desire to create «community of common destiny of mankind» wants to make the Arctic total, and then the countries of the Arctic Council will lose its advantage in the region and associated benefits.

The Chinese authorities believe that economic globalization and regional integration gradually evolve and deepen, and the Arctic is gaining more global importance in connection with enhancing its strategic and economic significance is also enhanced by the importance of the region in the field of scientific research, environmental protection, open new Maritime routes and natural resources.

«At the moment the situation in the Arctic has ceased to affect directly only the Arctic countries, the challenges and opportunities of this region were important for the entire international community. This also applies to survival and development, and building a common future for all humanity,» said the authors of the White paper.

Calmness, only calmness

The Chinese foreign Ministry on the question of whether to regard the interest in the Arctic other countries, particularly China, as a potential threat to Russian interests in the region, told RIA Novosti that «China is closely spaced to the Arctic by the state and important player in the Arctic region party, China always respects and is considered the sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction of Arctic States in this area».

In the «White book» to the Arctic and China, said that, «while promoting its own interests, Beijing intends to comply with the interests of other States and the entire international community to remember the importance of protection and development of the Arctic, maintain a balance between short-term and long-term interests.»

The foreign Ministry in its comments has also reiterated that «the position of the Chinese side lies in the fact that, in the exercise of any activity in the Arctic region, all countries should be guided by the «UN Convention on the law of the sea» and other international legal agreements».

The foreign Ministry stressed that «China is ready to participate constructively in the Arctic Affairs, together with other countries to promote peace, stability and sustainable development in the Arctic.»

The idea for all

The head of the Arctic research center at the Chinese University of Oceanography, Pazin, commenting to RIA Novosti, the proposal of the Chinese authorities on the establishment of the «Arctic silk road», said that he considered it «very good and practical initiative, and it is currently the most feasible, as consistent with the modern trends in the world.»

«One of the most important contemporary trend is the «convergence» of Europe and Asia, thus, the two most important engine of the global economy will be integrated,» added the expert, noting that «the Arctic silk road» can be one of the three branches, the biggest Chinese initiatives in the Asia-European integration «One belt, one road» and connect via the Northern corridor countries of ASEAN, China, South Korea, Japan and the countries of Europe.

Advantages Of Russia

The expert, answering the question of whether the Chinese initiative «Arctic silk road» is more an opportunity or a threat to the interests of Arctic countries, particularly Russia, noted that «for Russia, «the Arctic silk road» should be important».

«In my view, Russia has three of the most important and strategic advantages, the first is energy, second army, and it is enough for Russia to play a major role in the East and in the West, in Asia and in Europe. Russia has still a third advantage is a very favorable geographic location,» — said the expert.

According to him, due to the fact that in the Central Asian and middle Eastern regions at the moment is quite difficult geopolitical situation, the Russian Northern sea route may become an important and profitable segment «of the Arctic silk road».

The expert believes that «if Russia is able to use its advantageous geographical position, and, in particular, the Northern sea route, then it will play a crucial role in the integration of East Asia and Europe, and the bridging role of East and West can bring Russia a lot of benefit».

Silk cooperation

Go Pazin, talking about when to start the implementation of the project «Arctic silk road», said that «it must be done now, the importance of the Arctic region was recognized and our leaders, and Prime Ministers.»

The analyst stressed that Russia and China can actively cooperate in the construction of basic infrastructure, ports, administered by the meteorological and environmental studies, jointly carry out rescue operation and provide a variety of services.

Answering the question of who China is the most desirable and useful partner in the Arctic, the expert noted that «partners of China in the Arctic are all countries of the Arctic Union, but at the present stage Russia is the most important partner».

Look to the North: in China see development cooperation in the Arctic and the Northern sea route© RIA Novosti, Integratiebeleid in photobacteria sea route
Not to kill the chicken

Speaking about the development of the Russian Northern sea route, the expert noted that this project is now undergoing many changes.

«I don’t know exactly what the policy of the Northern sea route will be implemented, but, in my opinion, at this stage, the Russian side just not worth it to impose high tariffs, of course, services are not in any way should not be provided free, but the pricing should be reasonable and rational, as the proverb goes «you should not kill the hen to get the egg,» Russia now needs to set reasonable rates, not to scare away potential customers, and «kill the chicken» is absolutely not in the interests of Russia,» — said the expert.

He advised Russia «not to impose unreasonable cost, is to set low prices to attract attention and create a demand, later will benefit.»

Commenting on earlier reports in The Washington Post that as the onset of global warming, the Northern sea route could become Russia’s own «Suez canal», which will significantly reduce the cost of shipping cargoes from Europe to Asia and America, he noted that this is an option, but the development largely depends on policy of the Russian authorities.

«If the rates of transportation on the Northern sea route will be higher than the transportation through the Suez canal, no one will choose the Russian way. Every year the quantity of goods and the carrying vessels is growing steadily, development of the Russian Northern sea route there is hope,» — said a Chinese analyst.

He also noted that geopolitical risks, which are every day becoming more real, can lead to the fact that shipping from Asia to Europe there will be only two ways – via the African Cape of Good hope and through the Northern sea route.

«If US-Iran war breaks out, Iran will likely block the Strait of Hormuz. This, in turn, will lead to the fact that the Houthis likely to block the Bab-El-Mandeb Strait,» he said.

He noted that now is a good time for the construction of Arctic routes that could attract major international funding.

Chinese authorities in the «White book» also not paid attention to the changing environmental conditions in the Arctic, it is noted that, on the one hand, the melting of ice leads to significant changes in climate throughout the world, it can cause lifting of level of world ocean water natural disasters, but on the other hand, the «melting ice may create new conditions for research and development of the Arctic, to provide opportunities for commercial use of new sea routes and natural resources of the region.»

In China believe that commercial activity in the region will greatly affect the entire world, including international trade, fisheries, energy supply will bring social and economic changes, in particular for those who work and live in the region.