Denmark Supports China Permanent Observer Status at Arctic Council

Canadian media reports Denmark has told China that they support China’s application for permanent observer status on the eight member Arctic Council (Canada, Russia, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Sweden and the United States).

As a great maritime trading nation, China certainly has an interest in the possibility of shortening the shipping route between Europe and Asia, but their interest goes beyond that:

Wright ( University of Calgary history professor David Wright)… points out that Chinese scholars are examining Canada’s claims of historical sovereignty over the Arctic, especially in regard to the Northwest Passage. China, he says, wants the Arctic, with its sea passages, oil and natural gas wealth, minerals and fishing stocks, to be international territory or the ‘shared heritage of humankind.’…Such a view is contrary to Canada’s insistence on its territorial sovereignty of the Arctic islands and the waterways between them.” (emphasis applied)

As noted earlier Canadian and US interest don’t exactly coincide here, with the Canadians claiming sections of the Northwest Passage as internal waters, while the US considers them an international strait. The Canadian position that they have the right to deny passage bears some resemblance to the position China has taken with regard to its EEZ. The Chinese position, claiming “indisputable” sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, while considering the Arctic the “shared heritage of humankind” smacks of the the old saying, “What’s mine is mine; what’s yours is negotiable.”

1 thought on “Denmark Supports China Permanent Observer Status at Arctic Council

  1. Pingback: Norge & Kina – perfekte partnere i nord? « Internasjonalen

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