Late last month, China released a White Paper on its new Arctic strategy and how it expands on the One Belt One Road initiative. ASP’s Director of Studies and Senior Fellow for Energy and Climate, Andrew Holland, was recently interviewed by CNBC discussing how the United States shouldn’t feel threatened by this.
The Arctic has not always been a large part in the Chinese policy, but with climate change, China is now seeing the economic benefits of claiming a foothold in the region. Some analysts argue that China’s involvement may lead to confrontational behavior in the area, much like what is seen in the South China Sea.
Holland states that he does not believe that is true.
“China poses a challenge, not a threat, to the U.S.” Holland said of the Arctic. “There has not been any confrontational behavior from China, and we don’t expect to see it escalate to a confrontational stance at any point. If anything, Russia poses more of a threat in the Arctic to American interest.”
Instead, he said that the “U.S. should step up its investments and diplomacy efforts in the Arctic in the face of China’s influence challenge.” China wants to utilize the Arctic to increase its investments and trade growth by leveraging its position by utilizing collaboration and the promise of Belt and Road funds. However, Holland said he does not expect the U.S. to step up its investments and diplomacy efforts as he thinks it should. The Arctic does not hold as high a priority as other items on the President’s agenda, and as such, will not receive a big response.