CHINA’S SCIENTISTS ARE THE NEW KIDS ON THE ARCTIC BLOCK
FOR NEARLY A century, the Arctic has been a scientific playground for American, Canadian, and European researchers studying everything from magnetic fields to krill populations, as well as documenting rising temperatures and a changing climate. But with China increasingly expressing an interest in all things Arctic, a geopolitical storm is brewing. Traditional boundaries between science, commerce, and the military are melting as fast as the region’s sea ice.
On Monday, US secretary of state Mike Pompeo scolded China for using civilian polar research to further its military and commercial goals, including opening up a new “Polar Silk Road” for trade and shipping. “China’s words and actions raise doubts about its intentions,” Pompeo said in Rovaniemi, Finland, where the eight members of the Arctic Council are meeting this week. “Beijing claims to be a near-Arctic state. Yet the shortest distance between China and the Arctic is 900 miles.”