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Chinese economic interests in the Arctic
Material posted: Publication date: 15-11-2018
China, despite the lack of any territory in the Arctic, recognizes the value of the polar region, is implementing the idea of the Northern silk road. Deploying scientific activities in the Arctic gain a dominant position in the foreign policy interests, in 2013, China became a member-observer of the Arctic Council.

In the framework of the "Belt and road" President XI Jinping, in a White paper published in January 2018, confirmed the intention of creating a "Polar silk road", which involves the creation of "together with other States," Maritime trade routes in the Arctic region.[1] of the elements of the implementation strategy, built the network of economic relations around and within the Arctic zone, wearing controversial in terms of selection of key partners and methods. Specific policies can be risks and threats as the international community, and leading the Arctic countries, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, it can be assumed that in parallel with the polar strategy will be implemented in a different geopolitical direction

closely related, but wearing non-obvious character. From getting full control of the transportation arteries and North to a fundamental redistribution of power in the world. In the face of uncertainty further distribution of forces in the world around influence in the Arctic is relevant to study the question of possible prospects. To study the probable paths of development policies of China and events in the region was used a scenario analysis of the implementation of the Arctic strategy of China.

From the point of view of the pursuit of economic leadership in the TRANS-Arctic corridor, which will, according to scientists, ice-free for between 2030 and 2050 and will become the shortest route from Asia to Europe and other Northern passages (Fig. 1.), it is necessary to consider the activities of China in the North of Europe.

At the beginning of 2018, the government of Greenland has accepted the application for participation in multimillion-dollar construction from a Chinese state Corporation CCCC, in addition, there are negotiations on the construction of China's three airports. At the same time, China has shown a great practical interest in the construction project of a 450 kilometer railway "Oulu (Finland) — Kirkenes (Norway)".[2] that is, in addition to promising sea route that will shorten the distance from Asia to Europe by 30-50% compared to the Strait of Malacca or the Suez canal, developing rail route to the Arctic ocean. This project is a own logistics EU access to ocean, which will allow the export of goods from countries of Northern, Central and Eastern Europe on the road SMP. In December 2017, it became known that between "relevant Chinese Ministry" together with China Telecom Corporation and the Finnish state-owned Cinia Group Oy negotiations on another ambitious project, worth 700 million euros in the same corridor "Finland—Kirkenes—route the Northern sea route to China and Japan." We are talking about laying underwater fiber-optic communication lines (FOCL) with a length of 10.5 thousand km, which by 2020 will become the most high-speed computer cable connection between Europe and Asia.[3] the Prospect of TRANS-Arctic sea route allocates Greenland as a particularly important element within its path. As in most Arctic regions, Greenland suffers from a significant shortage of infrastructure in all sectors, which makes it even more attractive for Chinese investments. Thus, the activities of the PRC though is primarily of an economic nature, it is oriented to dual-use objects, such as the former naval base, airfields, strategic minerals and earth station satellite communication. Ports can potentially be used as fueling stations for Chinese ships. In the field of scientific activities, the importance of which is emphasized in "White book," in the beginning of 2018 between China and Finland signed an agreement whereby the city of sodankylä in the Arctic space Observatory will be created by the Chinese research center for studying the Arctic. In addition, two years ago in Sweden was built by the Chinese Arctic ground station to control the remote-sensing satellites (CNPGS). Chinese financial investments was built the Observatory of the Aurora in Northern Iceland.

Thus carried out investment in the establishment of logistics hubs and corridors that can provide efficient transportation and communication. Simultaneously, it demonstrated in practice a willingness to work and explore the Arctic. It is known that no less active in this area of European countries such as Germany and France, in addition, the data of the state for several years trying to get to the Arctic Council. Hence, if a certain scenario of cooperation between China, having experience of cooperation with Arctic countries in the framework of the existing forum, Germany and France, investing in the largest project in the Arctic region – in Yamal LNG, and in the future Arctic LNG 2, there is a possibility of creating a formalized international organization with the mission of cooperation of representatives of different continents in the Arctic to study the climate, the preservation of nature. In this case, the aforementioned beneficiaries will have the opportunity to come to the forefront of Arctic development, in equal positions with directly by the countries with territories in the Arctic zone, or even with advantage over them. Although China in the "White book" and speaks of the necessity of international cooperation in common goals, the risk of implementing other script - purchase /long-term lease of land in the Arctic, what will become of China from the Arctic countries of the Arctic, with consequences of a more radical position and influence. In 2011, attempts were made to purchase part of the land in Iceland.

In the Russian Yamal LNG China also invests. The participation of China is 20% and the Chinese silk road Fund-9, 9%, in addition it planned a similar part in Arctic LNG 2. In addition to joint participation with Beijing in the Yamal LNG project is much wider: it provided 63% of the project financing (including loans Export-import Bank and the China development Bank totaling over 12 billion dollars.) and 45 industrial companies put 85% of the modules of the heat exchangers for the liquefaction of gas, more than 20 % of the transport ships, 14 of the 15 LNG tankers.[4] In this direction it is worth noting that in 2017, the silk road Fund has acquired a 10% stake in the company "SIBUR", and in July of 2018, Gazprom Geologorazvedka reported on the joint work of Jack-up rig (Jack-up floating drilling rig) and the Chinese Arctic rigs (semi-submersible drilling rig) "Nanhai 8" in the Kara sea where build 2 exploration wells (Arctic shelf).[5] it is Possible to say that in the period of tense relations between Russia and the West China is actively investing resources to improve their economic positions. In addition to providing China access to strategic infrastructure and resources a growing portfolio of Chinese investments in the Arctic zone creates financial leverage that can be applied to ensure political advantage. Russia considers the economic development of its Eastern territories strategic imperative, which is important for Chinese investment. But Chinese investment is not materialists as widely as we would like the Russian business interests, while Beijing often uses its economic leverage to obtain favorable commercial terms. Russia needs China to sold in the Arctic, many of its goals in the area of infrastructure development. China seeks to access the economic potential of the Arctic and to strengthen their technological capabilities, particularly in shipbuilding, cooperating with Russia on key projects. This creates a new problem for Moscow's preservation of independence in the region.

The interest of the Chinese side to the gas resources of the Arctic are not confined to the Yamal Peninsula. China's Sinopec, CIC Capital Corp. and Bank of China signed on 8 November 2017 with the Alaska Gasline Development Corp. and the government of Alaska, the agreement on cooperation in marketing, financing, investment and the supply of Chinese equipment under the project "Alaska LNG". This project is an estimated value of $ 43.4 bn. includes the development of Arctic gas fields, the construction of a 1300 km pipeline from the Arctic on the South coast of the state and of the LNG plant in the port of Nikiski and is potentially one of the areas of diversification of energy import of China. On the one hand, the United States seeks to implement the project "Alaska LNG", on the other hand, the relationship between the US and Russia with China have the character of the cold war. So, at the security conference in aspen, 2018 and Strategy for national defense emphasizes the need to prepare for open conflict, is strategically where the main competitors are Russia and China, at the same time, every year China increases its cost in the defense industry and the possibilities of construction of these types of equipment, which NATO will not be able to respond with appropriate threat. In this situation, the further development of dialogue between the two countries is likely to be determined by the balance of military and economic interests, in which Russia's position would be very risky.

To summarize, it is obvious that a source of risk for both the US and Russia is potentially a growing economic influence of China in the Nordic countries - China is very interested in shaping the future management of the Arctic and maneuvering to have sufficient opportunity to influence, as Arctic countries to decide the future of navigation, fisheries and other important development parameters.

China's policy in the Arctic zone is different. On the one hand, experiences some of the largest financial investments in scientific research, on the other hand, the country seeks as far as possible to settle economically, while not neglected the need to increase military capabilities and geopolitical side – to facilitate the conflict of interest (USA-EU). In accordance with these directions has been considered variants of the further implementation of the Arctic policy of China and its nature - the achievement of leadership positions through economic leverage, political Union or through the instruments of the cold war. China creates room for maneuver in the North America and the EU, and in Asia.

Cooperation with Russia has continued in greater measure to realize China's interests, the asymmetry reaches a critical situation, in which Russia would become a Junior partner. At the moment, opportunities for joint projects prevail over the opportunities for open competition, but as China assumes a more active role in regional and global Affairs, its long-term ambition towards Russia are not clear.

Most Western analysts say that we should not exaggerate the activities of China that the country has the same effect as in other areas. This position is extremely risky and should be included in the overall emerging picture every step of the country, aiming to become the leading power in the world by 2050.

References:

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  3. Asian players in the Arctic: interests, opportunities, perspectives. Report No. 26/2016 / T. A. Makhmutov, H. Nagaraja, V. E. Petrovsky, and others – M: NP RDM, 2016. – 56 p
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[1] the Project "One belt, one road". File. [Electronic resource]:-access Mode: https://tass.ru/info/4383152 (13.11.18)

[2] Finland has prepared a draft of the possible route of the Arctic railway. [Electronic resource]:- access Mode: https://tass.ru/mezhdunarodnaya-panorama/5018856 (13.11.18)

[3] 10,000 Kilometers of Fiber-Optic Cable Show China's Interest in Arctic Warming. [Electronic resource]:- access Mode: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-12-13/undersea-cable-project-shows-china-s-interest-in-warming-arctic (13.11.18)

[4] Krivorotov A. K. ARCTIC POLICY in CHINA: GAINING MOMENTUM, GAINING FRAMEWORK, MULTIPLYING VECTORS/ A. K. Krivorotov//China in world and regional politics. History and modernity.-2018-V. 23.-P. 185.

[5] On the way to the Kara sea. Drilling platforms in the Arctic and Nanhai VIII left the port of Murmansk [Electronic resource]:- access Mode: https://neftegaz.ru/news/view/173491-Na-puti-k-Karskomu-moryu.-Burovye-platformy-Arkticheskaya-i-Nanhai-VIII-vyshli-iz-porta-Murmansk (date accessed: 10.11.2018).

Imasheva A.


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