A. Zagorskii (email@example.com),
Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation
Analyzing the White Book of China’s policy in the Arctic, the author argues, that its provisions indicate Beijing’s readiness to accept the terms of participation in regional affairs as formulated in 2011 in criteria for admission of observers to the Arctic Council. International maritime law, particularly provisions of the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea provide a common denominator and a framework for identifying the balance of interests of coastal states and China, as well as other interested non-Arctic actors in the region. Beijing claims to respect sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction of coastal states in the Arctic Ocean, and uphold the current Arctic governance system based on the UNCLOS. In return, it expects Arctic states to respect rights and responsibilities of non-regional actors, including China, as provided for by international law. This would be the basis for defining the balance of interests of concerned actors, maintenance of status quo in the region, and guidance from Beijing to domestic actors to observe established rules. The publication of the White Book triggered a controversial debate against the background of concerns raised particularly with respect to expansion of activities of Chinese state enterprises in the Arctic. While most concerns can be addressed in a rational and cooperative manner, it is particularly Beijing’s posture on the use of maritime routes in the Arctic Ocean which requires further clarification.
Arctic, China, Russia, Arctic governance, shipping, security
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