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Global Times

Arctic version of China threat theory another show of US double standard: experts

Global Times

By Deng Xiaoci Source:Global Times Published: 2019/5/5 21:48:40

Reports published by US defense authorities labeling China a strategic competitor in the Arctic are selling a new polar version of the China threat theory, Chinese observers warned on Sunday.

In a special section of the 2019 China Military Power Report to the US Congress, the US Department of Defense noted that China has increased activities and engagement in the Arctic since gaining observer status on the Arctic Council in 2013.

"China's civilian research could support a strengthened Chinese military presence in the Arctic Ocean, which could include deploying submarines to the region as a deterrent against nuclear attacks," according to the annual briefing document.

The report was published right ahead of a meeting of the eight-nation Arctic Council in Rovaniemi, Finland, starting Monday and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to attend the event, according to Reuters.

It was unsurprising that US departments used a polar version of the China threat theory to seek more financing for their budget including better ice vessels, a military expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Sunday.

In the bigger picture, the US sought to secure exclusive rights to the region's abundant undiscovered energy resources, he said.

The US Defense Department report's highlighting of Chinese civilian research stations and vessels Xuelong I and Xuelong II as a sign of future military expansion also clearly contradicted the long promoted concept of freedom of navigation, he said.

As global warming opens up the Arctic, it was natural for stakeholders to concern themselves with security issues in the region, including new shipping routes that could slash international trade costs, he said.

The new Arctic situation was also enabling new locations to launch faster missile attacks to anywhere in the northern hemisphere, he noted.

However, Beijing would not invest much resources to this issue or dispatch submarines, he said. China would concentrate on its economic development.

Dong Yue, a vice dean of the School of Law of the Ocean University of China, said that China's involvement in trans-regional and global issues in the region is in line with and based on its development of a community with shared future for mankind, the goal of which is to protect the men's common interests and promote sustainable development.

As an important stakeholder in Arctic affairs, the natural conditions of the Arctic and their changes have a direct impact on China's climate and ecological environment, in turn, on its economic interests in sectors including the agriculture and marine industry, said Dong.

And for such reasons, China's involvement in the rules to address issues such as global warming is inevitable, and its participation in regional governance based on bilateral and multilateral cooperation is legitimate and beneficial to all parties, Dong noted.

China's State Council in January 2018 published a white paper that argued that the future of the Arctic concerns the interests of the Arctic States, the well-being of non-Arctic States and that of humanity as a whole, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

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