The bear and the dragon in the North: Russia-China cooperation in the Arctic

Rashmi, BR (2022) The bear and the dragon in the North: Russia-China cooperation in the Arctic. Sunday Guardian, 25th September 2022.

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Abstract: The war in Ukraine has once again raised questions on the future of the Arctic, a region that witnessed serious efforts for cooperation and peace in the post-Cold War years, despite the geopolitical rumblings between the great powers and the Crimean annexation in 2014. With Russia now isolated in the Arctic Council and the region at large, it is possible for more close cooperation with China on the economic front, however, there is an element of caution in their relations. Russia is by far the superpower in the Arctic, by the virtue of geography, with its territory covering nearly 50% of the region, its longest coastline with the Arctic Ocean explaining its strong intent to strengthen its position in the region. Russia’s current moves to develop the Northern Sea Route, tap both off-shore and on-shore resources and the much-debated military build-up is not a newfound interest, rather a historical ambition that can be traced back to Novgorod city-state that established an Arctic outpost in Kola Peninsula as early as 12th century. The Arctic dominance continued through centuries and reached a high during the Soviet era. China on the contrary is geographically distant from the Arctic and has a new found interest, primarily economics, connected to its 21st century global ambitions. It is a manufacturing hub that heavily depends on resources for domestic use and shipping, and is at the same time, a revisionist state that has great power ambitions. The Arctic offers resources (many still inaccessible), and a partial solution to the Malacca Dilemma. Calling itself a “near-Arctic” state in the white paper, Beijing aims to expand its footprints in a plethora of investment areas—science, mining and resource extraction, connectivity, telecommunications shipping, and tourism.
Item Type: In the Media
Keywords: Arctic, Russia, China
Subjects: School of Conflict and Security Studies > Arctic Region
Doctoral Programme > PhD Scholar Publications
School of Conflict and Security Studies > Strategic Studies
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2022 08:27
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2023 05:29
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