lunes, marzo 01, 2010

China Eyes Development Of Ice-Free Arctic Ocean, Report Says

Even though China does not border the Arctic Ocean, Chinese officials and scientists are quietly preparing to exploit the commercial and strategic opportunities that will arise from an ice-free Arctic in summer, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The report said that by 2013 China is expected to complete construction of a high-tech icebreaker for polar exploration and that China is seeking a more active role in the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental body that deals with issues faced by Arctic nations. Some Chinese researchers are urging a shift from scientific study of the Arctic to the study of resource exploration, according the report. Linda Jakobson, the report’s author, said that China is “keen to have the right to access natural resources” in the Arctic, including oil and minerals. China, whose economy is heavily reliant on shipping, would benefit greatly from an ice-free Arctic, which would cut the Shanghai-Hamburg shipping route by 4,000 miles and would avoid pirate-infested waters off the Horn of Africa. The Arctic is expected to be largely ice-free in summer within a decade or two.


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