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China discloses plans for Arctic, 'Polar Silk Road' on the way

China said it would encourage plans to build polar silk roads across the Arctic extending Belt and Road project, which India opposes

IANS  |  Beijing 

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks Great Hall of the People | Photo: Reuters.
Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks Great Hall of the People | Photo: Reuters.

on Friday published a white paper on its Arctic policy, pledging cooperative governance and elaborating its vision for a "Polar Silk Road" Xi Jinping's signature Belt and Road Initiative that opposes.

The document, titled China's Arctic Policy by the State Council Information Office, said would encourage enterprises to build infrastructure and conduct commercial trial voyages, paving the way for Arctic shipping routes that would form the "Polar Silk Road".

"hopes to work with all parties to build a 'Polar Silk Road' through developing the Arctic shipping routes," reported, citing the document.

The Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime (Belt and Road Initiative) will facilitate connectivity, sustainable economic and social development of the Arctic.

It said, "great importance will be placed on navigation security".

"The country has actively conducted studies on these routes and continuously strengthened hydrographic surveys to improve navigation, security and logistics in the Arctic".

The paper stressed that has "shared interests" with Arctic nations. "While pursuing its own interests, China will pay due regard to the interests of other countries and the broader community."

It said that China will also regulate and manage Arctic-related affairs and activities within its jurisdiction in accordance with the law.

The document said that will "enhance its ability to understand, protect and develop the Arctic, and participate in cooperation in Arctic affairs.

It said China also eyes development of oil, gas, mineral resources and other non-fossil energies, fishing and tourism in the region, jointly with Arctic states, while "respecting the tradition and culture of Arctic residents", including indigenous peoples, and conserving the natural

The white paper promised more on scientific research and environmental protection in the Arctic.

Kong Xuanyou, Vice Foreign Minister, said that China's participation in the development of the Arctic was a "contribution that would bring about development opportunities and social benefits".

"It is completely unnecessary to doubt our intentions about the plundering of resources or destruction of the environment," Kong said.

The land territories in the Arctic covered an area of about 8 million square kilometres, whose sovereignty belongs to Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, and the US.

The has an area of over 12 million square kilometres, in which coastal and other countries share maritime rights and interests according to law.

China's Belt and Road initiative, proposed in 2013, aims to build networks connecting with and along the ancient routes. The plan reflects Xi's desire for China to take on a more prominent global leadership role.

First Published: Fri, January 26 2018. 20:53 IST