U.S. experts: China should be welcomed in historic Arctic expedition
By Gong Zhe
The melting Arctic is causing climate problems for the world, but the melting ice can also be a good thing.
For example, people can travel through the northernmost sea more easily, which opens up opportunities for more cargo transportation and scientific expeditions.
The Russians are progressing fast in this area and China is catching up, which sounds worrying to some U.S. politicians as their power near the north pole is receding.
That might be one of the reasons that U.S. President Donald Trump proposed the absurd idea of buying Greenland.
Some may wonder why China, a country with no direct geographical link with the Arctic, should have anything to do with the race for the North.
On Friday, a discussion on the same topic was held by Hudson Institute, a non-profit think tank in the U.S., in which speakers said China's efforts in the Arctic are necessary and should be recognized and welcomed.
"They've done a good job of cooperating internationally with a variety of projects," Arctic expert John Farrell said at the discussion.
Farrell, executive director of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, noted that 10 Chinese academic institutions participated in The Mosaic Project, a recently launched international research effort dubbed the "biggest Arctic expedition in history," as Xinhua reported.
China's current research capacity in the Arctic is relatively low but that may change in a short time, according to Farrell.
"They want to increase their capacity," he said. "I think China sees science as an acceptable and normative way to participate in the Arctic."
Farrell said given the resources needed to conduct scientific research in the Arctic, China's contribution should be welcomed.
Liselotte Odgaard, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, agreed with Farrell saying China is related to the Arctic because the climate there effects of the country's Himalayan mountain area.
"I think we should welcome to an extent China's engagement," Odgaard said.
China is an observer at the Arctic Council, a international forum on Arctic-related issues.