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2019-05-24. Latest Arena for China’s Growing Global Ambitions: The Arctic.

posted May 25, 2019, 10:21 AM by Alan Gould
By Somini Sengupta and Steven Lee Myers, The New York Times. [https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/24/climate/china-arctic.html] For GSS Climate Change chapter 9. Excerpt: ROVANIEMI, Finland — The Arctic is thawing, and China is seizing the chance to expand its influence in the north. For China, the retreating ice potentially offers two big prizes: new sources of energy and a faster shipping route across the top of the world. To that end, the country is cultivating deeper ties with Russia. More than 3,000 miles from home, Chinese crews have been drilling for gas beneath the frigid waters of the Kara Sea off Russia’s northern coast. Every summer for the last five years, Chinese cargo ships have maneuvered through the ice packs off Russia’s shores — a new passage that officials in Beijing like to call the Polar Silk Road. And in Shanghai, Chinese shipbuilders recently launched the country’s second icebreaker, the Snow Dragon 2. China’s ambitions in the Far North, said Aleksi Harkonen, Finland’s ambassador for Arctic affairs, mirror its ambitions everywhere else. “It’s after global influence,” he said, “including in the Arctic.”....