China defends Arctic research missions

Updated: 2012-02-01 06:54


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Untapped resources and sea route

"China did not prospect for oil and gas resources in the Arctic area nor has the capability or capacity to mine oil and gas there, " Qu said.

However, he said that in the context of economic globalization, resources in any region or country can be circulated and distributed globally, just like currency or commodities, with which China is never the only to be linked.

Researchers expect that as global warming continues to melt the polar caps, a new sea route linking Europe, Asia and North America may be created through the Arctic, which will be much shorter than the current major international sea line through the Suez Canal.

Ruan Zongze, a research fellow with China Institute of International Studies, told Xinhua Tuesday that the Arctic sea route, if opened, will influence many countries, and as a global service, it will never be dominated by a single country.

"For the route, what China is doing is more following the trend and keeping attention, and also playing an appropriate role," Ruan said.

"Strategic stronghold"

Huang Nubo, a Chinese private business owner, once planned to buy a piece of land in Iceland for investment purpose, a move that grabbed extensive media attention in November 2011.

The failed bid, however, was cited as a Chinese government attempt to "build a strategic stronghold" in the Arctic by the Sankei Shimbun last week.

Smashing the allegation as a "ridiculous hoax", Huang also expressed his sadness over the "picky" manner of the Western world toward Chinese enterprises.

"With the world being caught by surging trade protectionism and an increasingly weakened Western economy, the developed countries increasingly tend to embrace a post-cold war mindset about Chinese companies," Huang said.

It is reasonable for China to beef up its relations including in trade and investment with North European countries, which have long lagged behind the development of its ties with other parts of Europe, according to international studies analysts.

Ruan said it is almost "paranoia" to compare China's normal commercial investments in the Arctic to efforts to maintain a strategic control there.

"As a country outside the Arctic circle, China has no special interests in the Arctic," he said.

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