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China's Arctic Aspirations
Linda Jakobson and Jingchao Peng
SIPRI Policy Paper no. 34
ISBN 978-91-85114-73-3

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China wants to be part of the Arctic order and, as a rising power, emphasizes the global implications of the Arctic’s melting ice. Although several non-Chinese observers have described China’s actions in the Arctic as 'more assertive', and the Chinese Government has taken steps to protect what it perceives as its key interests in the region, China’s Arctic policies are still in a nascent stage of formulation.

This Policy Paper represents the first comprehensive mapping of the agencies and individuals involved in the formulation of Arctic policies and an assessment of the motives underlying China’s Arctic activities. The authors show that, while China recognizes that it is an 'Arctic outsider'—without sovereign rights in the Arctic—it nevertheless sees numerous economic opportunities opening up in there. It consequently seeks to influence discussions and decisions on how the Arctic should be governed.


1. Introduction
2. China's Arctic actors
3. Motives behind China’s Arctic activities
4. The Arctic in China's bigger picture
5. Conclusions

About the authors

Linda Jakobson (Finland) is the East Asia Program Director at the Lowy Institute for International Policy, Sydney, and a member of SIPRI's Arctic research team. Until 2011 she was Director of the SIPRI China and Global Security Programme. Before moving to Sydney in 2011, she lived and worked in China for 20 years. She has published six books on Chinese and East Asian society and has written extensively on China's foreign policy, energy security, science and technology polices and the Taiwan Strait.

Jingchao Peng (China) is a graduate student at Waseda University, Tokyo. Until September 2012 he was a Research Assistant with the SIPRI China and Global Security Programme, based in Beijing. His main research interests include the Arctic policies of East Asian states and China's maritime security issues.

Publisher: SIPRI
ISBN 978-91-85114-73-3
23 pp.
November 2012
Price: €7.50 per copy plus €5 shipping and handling per order


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