Reuters is reporting that China has unveiled its ambitions to extend President Xi Jinpingโ€™s signature Belt and Road Initiative to the Arctic by developing shipping lanes opened up by global warming. The Chinese are calling it the Polar Silk Road.

โ€œChina hopes to work with all parties to build a โ€˜Polar Silk Roadโ€™ through developing the Arctic shipping routes,โ€ the paper, issued by the State Council Information Office, said.

China, despite being a non-Arctic state, is increasingly active in the polar region and became an observer member of the Arctic Council in 2013.

Among its increasing interests in the region is its major stake in Russiaโ€™s Yamal liquefied natural gas project which is expected to supply China with four million tonnes of LNG a year, according to the state-run China Daily.

Shipping through the Northern Sea Route would shave almost 20 days off the regular time using the traditional route through the Suez Canal, the newspaper reported last month. COSCO Shipping has also previously sailed vessels through the Arcticโ€™s northeast passage.

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Updated 2021.03.09

Related ยป The Peopleโ€™s Congress in Beijing formally announced it will construct the โ€œPolar Silk Roadโ€ through the Arctic, despite not being an Arctic nation