China's Arctic Interests and Policy: History, Legal Ground and Implementation

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2016-60-2-52-62

Guangmiao Xu, China Institute of Boundary and Ocean Studies, Wuhan University, Wuhan, Hubei Province, 430072, P.R. China (

Abstract. With a brief history review of China’s participation in the 20th century Arctic activities, the article discusses basic directions of China’s Arctic interests in the 21th century, examines their legal grounds and mechanisms for their pursuit. Considering China‘s Arctic interests related to climate change, economic, scientific and political activities, the author emphasizes that the latter primarily serve its desire for a better understanding of climate change dynamics and economic interest. While elaborating on legal issues, the author also admits the existence of legal disputes that impede the pursuit of Chinese interests. Furthermore, when introducing the mechanisms for China’s Arctic interests pursuit as a complex which can be achieved in governmental, academic and commercial aspects, the obstructive practical factors in the process of implementation, and the shortcomings of the according mechanisms are discussed. Attempting to analyze the perspective and summarize the basic position of Chinese government on the present issue, the author adopts the methods of history research, document research, interdisciplinary research and comparison, and draws the conclusion that, as a non-Arctic state, China does not regard Arctic as a foreign policy priority and raises no claims in the region. China shows respect to the sovereignty and sovereign rights of Arctic countries, while insisting that non-Arctic states should also exercise the right of scientific research and navigation. To develop a partnership of cooperation, Arctic and non-Arctic states should recognize and respect each other's rights under the international law. China endorses UNCLOS to be the main legal instrument of the Arctic Governance and considers the Arctic Council as the most influential international forum promoting the development of Arctic Governance and cooperation. Unprepared as China has been to form its official Arctic policy, it will continue to actively participate in all aspects of the governance and cooperation in the region. 

Keywords: China, Arctic, interests, legal bases, implementation, SMP, The Arctic Ocean, The UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 

Registered in System SCIENCE INDEX

For citation:
Guangmiao X. China's Arctic Interests and Policy: History, Legal Ground and Implementation. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2016, vol. 60, no. 2, pp. 52-62.

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