BEIJING, June 18 Oil and gas resources in the
Arctic are an important resource to guarantee China's sustained
economic growth and the country should actively look at
developing it, state media on Wednesday cited a Chinese military
think-tank as saying.
The Arctic Council agreed in May last year to admit emerging
powers China and India as observers, reflecting growing global
interest in the trade and energy potential of the planet's Far
The organisation, which coordinates Arctic policy, is
gaining influence as sea ice thaws to open up trade routes and
intensify competition for oil and gas - estimated at 15 percent
and 30 percent respectively of undiscovered reserves.
The Defence Policy Research Centre of the Academy of
Military Sciences of the People's Liberation Army singled out
the Arctic as one of the chapters of an annual strategic
"The Arctic region has rich oil and gas resources and quick
and convenient shipping conditions, which has important meaning
for ensuring the sustained development of China's economy," the
centre said in its report, according to excerpts published by
the official China News Service.
"The Arctic region could become an important supply base in
the future for China's overseas oil. China will ... open
cooperation with Arctic countries with energy supplies."
China relies on overseas oil to help power its economy, now
the second-largest in the world, and has long fretted about
security of its supplies as so much of it has to flow through
the narrow Malacca Strait, linking the Indian Ocean to the
China has been active in the polar region of late, becoming
one of the biggest mining investors in Greenland and agreeing a
free trade deal with Iceland. Shorter shipping routes across the
Arctic Ocean would save its companies time and money.
China already has mining links with Greenland and trade ties
with Iceland. Greenland may have the world's biggest deposits of
rare earths, used in smart phones and green technology.
"China sits in the northern hemisphere and has important
strategic interests in the Arctic region, which relates to
national economic development sustainability and national
security," the think-tank wrote.
China has a right to a share of the Arctic's resources, be
present in the region and to carry out scientific research
there, it said.
China's growing involvement in Arctic affairs acts to
prevent a minority of countries from dominating the region and
protects the rights of non-Arctic countries, it said.
The Arctic Council groups the United States, Russia, Canada
and Nordic nations. Observer status gives countries the right to
listen in on meetings and propose and finance policies.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Robert Birsel)