The Polar Silk Road: China Plans Deeper Collaboration With Russia In The Arctic, But How Will This Affect Future Conflict Over Arctic Resources?

Clean Technica | By: James Ayre | February 02, 2018:

Essentially every country with any territory anywhere near the Arctic has by now staked out claims to offshore resources well beyond their own territorial waters there, largely based on arguments relating to the extent of relevant continental shelves.

The Arctic region, for those that need to have this spelled out for them, is home to a very large portion of the untapped (and thus still concentrated) mineral and fossil fuel reserves of the world.

Unsurprisingly, what this means is that a majority of the most powerful governments and corporations around the world are now considering ways in which to loot the region.

The barriers in the way of such an outcome are fairly substantial though — the Arctic is still relatively inaccessible, the seas there are still some of the stormiest in the world, and development costs for fossil fuel extraction and mining are thus comparatively high. And then of course there are the political barriers as well — e.g. everyone wants it, so everyone has claimed it as theirs (“truth” as determined by force thus remains as the most probable outcome).

With those facts in mind, it’s interesting to consider the recent announcement by China (via a white paper discussing national strategy relating to the Arctic) that the country would be aiming to work more closely with Russia in the future in the region. The plan is reportedly to create a new “Polar Silk Road” to complement the existing “belt and road” plans further south.

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