China’s white paper on Arctic policy enhances trust, refutes “China threat”

China’s white paper on its Arctic policy issued on Jan. 26 will enhance trust between China and international community and promote global Arctic governance, said People’s Daily Overseas Edition in a report on Monday.

In addition, the white paper, with an aim of Arctic protection, is also a rebuke to the “China threat” theory, said the article.

With China’s expanding participation in Arctic affairs, the world is paying more attention to the country’s Arctic policy, said Zhang Xia, director of the Research Division on Polar Strategy of the Polar Research Institute of China.

The white paper for the first time illustrated China’s policy for the North Pole, which will enhance trust, deepen consensus, and promote cooperation, Zhang added.

“China is a latecomer among non-Arctic countries to issue related policy,” said Zhang, adding that Japan, South Korea, India, Germany, France, and the UK have all rolled out Arctic policies.

According to him, China’s white paper is a response to the global expectation. It is also of great significance to guide China’s Arctic activities and cooperation, as well as to improve public awareness on Arctic affairs.

Zhao Long, an associate researcher at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, noted that the white paper reflects Chinese ideas and wisdom, hoping to incorporate Chinese plans into the Arctic governance mechanism.

Though China is not an Arctic country, it is an important party involved in Arctic affairs, said Zhao. The North Pole is also facing trans-regional and global challenges that require global participation. Climate change and waterway development are two solid examples, said the expert.

China respects the sovereignty, sovereign rights, and the right of jurisdiction of Arctic countries, he added.

Zhang said that the white paper is proof against “China threat” theory. He believes that China does not infringe upon the interests of Arctic countries, but offers them new sustainable development opportunities.