China's Arctic Policy: Polar Silk Road under spotlight at Arctic Circle Assembly
The Polar Silk Road has come under the spotlight of the Arctic Circle Assembly, as members gather in Iceland to discuss China's interests in the Arctic. Zhang He reports from Reykjavik.
Around 2,000 participants from over 50 countries gathered in Arctic Circle Assembly, to discuss the future of Arctic region. This year a special focus is on the participation of China as the country released its first-ever Arctic policy white paper in January.
GAO FENG, SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE FOR ARCTIC AFFAIRS CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY "Participants are really interested in this, particularly in the white paper, China's Arctic Policy, in particular, the phrase Polar Silk Road. So this is a highlight of this year."
ZHANG HE REYKJAVIK, ICELAND "China has made commitments to contribute to the Arctic. The big question now for many Western researchers is what is going to happen next?"
MARC LANTEIGNE, SENIOR LECTURER CENTRE FOR DEFENSE AND SECURITY STUDIES, MASSEY UNIVERSITY "Chinese ships have already began to make use of the Northern Sea Route. There is a lot of discussion about making use of Arctic ports by Chinese ships. And China has been very interested in developing infrastructure not only in Northern Russia but potentially elsewhere in the Arctic as well. So the possibility of joint economic cooperation is very strong."
Scientific research is key to the Polar Silk Road. For the first time, Chinese scientists have the opportunity to meet their counterparts from Greenland to discuss the effects of climate change and future cooperation.
STEN LUND, RESEARCH COORDINATOR GREENLAND MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND RESEARCH "There are some institutes already having some cooperation with some Chinese researcher and I think it is good contribution to increase knowledge about Arctic climate."
The final event will see the inauguration of China-Iceland Arctic Science Observatory in North Iceland, which will help build up China's scientific research in the region. CGTN, Zhang He, Reykjavik.