Po­lar Silk Road

China Pictorial (English) - - BUZZ WORDS - Edited by Li Zhuoxi

The Chinese gov­ern­ment de­clared in a white pa­per ti­tled “China’s Arc­tic Pol­icy” that China is will­ing to work with all par­ties con­cerned to build a “Po­lar Silk Road” by de­vel­op­ing Arc­tic shipping routes. By fo­cus­ing eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion on prospec­tive in­vest­ments in Arc­tic shipping routes and ex­plo­ration of Arc­tic re­sources, China en­deav­ors to con­trib­ute to the in­fras­truc­ture con­struc­tion and dig­i­tal­iza­tion of the Arc­tic. China’s Belt and Road Initiative will bring op­por­tu­ni­ties for con­cerned par­ties to jointly build a “Po­lar Silk Road” and fa­cil­i­tate con­nec­tiv­ity and sus­tain­able eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment in the Arc­tic.

The Arc­tic shipping routes in­clude sea routes that pass through the Arc­tic Cir­cle to con­nect the three ma­jor eco­nomic cen­ters of North Amer­ica, East Asia and Western Europe through the North­east Pas­sage and North­west Pas­sage. The for­mer is the short­est sea route be­tween China and Europe.

More than 90 per­cent of China’s for­eign trade is shipped by sea, but if cruis­ing along tra­di­tional shipping routes, cargo ves­sels from China bound for EU mem­ber states must go through the Strait of Malacca, the In­dian Ocean and the Suez Canal to fi­nally reach Eu­ro­pean ports. The North­east Pas­sage would cut the dis­tance to about two-thirds of the tra­di­tional route.

There­fore, the open­ing and uti­liza­tion of the Arc­tic shipping routes will pro­mote over­all growth of the Arc­tic eco­nomic cir­cle and bring ma­jor changes to global trade and shipping pat­terns. Now, eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties in the Arc­tic are in­creas­ing, but in­fras­truc­ture there is weak and in need for the Chinese mar­ket, cap­i­tal and tech­nol­ogy.

Spits­ber­gen Is­land in north­ern Nor­way is lo­cated along the Arc­tic shipping routes. The emer­gence of the Arc­tic shipping routes would cut the dis­tance of trade be­tween China and EU mem­ber states to about twothirds of the tra­di­tional route. VCG

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