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China Unveils Vision for ‘Polar Silk Road’ Across Arctic

China published a white paper on its Arctic policy Friday, pledging cooperative governance and elaborating its vision for a "Polar Silk Road."

 "China, as a responsible major country, is ready to cooperate with all relevant parties to seize the historic opportunity in the development of the Arctic, to address the challenges brought by the changes in the region," said the white paper issued by the State Council Information Office.

The country would like to "jointly understand, protect, develop and participate in the governance of the Arctic, and advance Arctic-related cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative," according to the white paper.

The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-century Maritime Silk Road (Belt and Road Initiative), an important cooperation initiative of China, will bring opportunities for parties concerned to jointly build a "Polar Silk Road," and facilitate connectivity and sustainable economic and social development of the Arctic, the white paper noted.

China vowed to participate in Arctic affairs in accordance with the basic principles of "respect, cooperation, win-win results and sustainability."

"While pursuing its own interests, China will pay due regard to the interests of other countries and the broader international community," it said.

Kong Xuanyou, vice foreign minister, said at a press conference Friday 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 or worry about plundering of resources or destruction of the environment," Kong said.

He also said countries in the Arctic had set high thresholds and standards on environmental protection, labor use, and commercial utilization during the development of the Arctic.

"We will abide by relevant standards and laws and make active contributions to the economic development and people's welfare of Arctic society," he said.

Besides giving importance to navigation security, China also eyes development of oil, gas, mineral resources and other non-fossil energies, fishing and tourism in the region. It said it would do so “jointly with Arctic States, while respecting traditions and cultures of the Arctic residents including the indigenous peoples and conserving natural environment.”

 The white paper also said that China is for peaceful utilization of the Arctic and commits itself to maintaining peace and stability in the region.

With regard to the Arctic shipping routes, "China maintains that disputes over the Arctic shipping routes should be properly settled through friendly consultations between concerned countries in accordance with international law," Kong added.

 

 

 


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