Beijing may be playing it cool, but it sees its current role in the contested High North as just the tip of the iceberg
Ryan Kilpatrick, South China Morning Post, 15 November 2016
WASHED by the shallow waters of the Tumen River that divides Russia and North Korea, China’s Hunchun has few tourist attractions other than a coin-operated set of binoculars, on an elevated platform, that lets the occasional visitor survey the three neighbours’ only junction. But if business expands along Arctic shipping routes linking the Atlantic and Pacific, this obscure city of little more than 200,000 could become “an international shipping centre equal to Singapore”, Xinhua, China’s state-run news agency, claimed last year.
China, having styled itself as a “near-Arctic nation”, is jockeying to play a greater role in the contested High North. Beijing attained permanent observer status to the intergovernmental Arctic Council in 2013, but experts say its ambitions are beyond those of a passive onlooker.
The hype over the Arctic recedes, along with the summer ice
The Economist, January 31, 2015
THE Arctic is hot,” joked a Swedish diplomat in 2012. Not any more. In the past six months, the trends that had made it a centre of global attention have changed. It still matters, mainly for environmental reasons. But a surge of interest in its economy and politics has ebbed.
OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, the largest Russian mining company, plans to spend $370 million to double its shipments across the Arctic Ocean by 2016 as global warming allows the route to rival the journey through the Suez Canal.
Environmental and funding concerns are adding years to the construction of an Arctic naval port considered crucial to enforcing Canadian control of the Northwest Passage.
The Nanisivik port in Nunavut was originally supposed to be at least partially up and running by next summer, following a promise made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2007.
But no construction is planned for this summer and defence officials admit that the refuelling station, intended to give the navy a permanent presence at the eastern gate of the contested passage, won't be operating for years.
Ottawa - WHEN in the Arctic, you should at least treat your host well. Royal Dutch Shell, an oil giant, had to learn this the hard way when planning to drill exploration wells in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska a couple of years ago. The firm had spent $84m on offshore leases and had satisfied regulators. But it failed to win over the Inupiat, an Inuit group. They worried that icebreakers and drill ships would hurt the bowhead whales on which they depend. Their leaders and environmental groups sued American regulators for not following a 1970 law on environmental impacts. This allowed them to wrest a number of concessions from Shell, including a commitment to stop all offshore operations during the bowhead migration and hunt, should drilling ever proceed.
Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey, 25 March 2010, Pravda.ru
What does Prime Minister Stephen Harper have in common with the Canadian Minister of Defence? He shares a sinister, hypocritical and belligerent discourse bordering on the lunatic fringe of the international community. Yet Canada’s new-found megalomania is the least of Russia’s worries: How can climate change in the Arctic threaten her national security?
A Canadian iron mine company seeks to build a 143-kilometre private railway on Baffin Island
Oliver Moore, Globe & Mail, September 4, 2008
It will be
the world's most northerly railway, a private line snaking across the
permafrost and rock of Baffin Island at a projected cost of $10-million
The ambitious project is part of
a plan to tap iron-ore deposits 900 kilometres northwest of Iqaluit.
The plan is subject to regulatory approval and securing financing, but
preliminary drilling is already under way, say officials of Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.,which is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Call it an overnight success story more than 45 years in the making.
Amid skyrocketing prices for iron ore, Baffinland Iron Ore Mines Corp. confirmed yesterday that its Mary River
project in Nunavut, first discovered in 1962, is one of the largest
undeveloped iron ore deposits in the world, containing 365 million
tonnes of proven and probable reserves.