China Coast Guard in the Russian Arctic?

Chinese Coast Guard officials observed the April 25 anti-terror exercise conducted by FSB Coast Guard in the Kola Bay north of Murmansk. Photo: Murmanski Vestnik

The Barents Observer has an interesting article, “Russia’s Coast Guard cooperation with China is a big step, Arctic security expert says,” that seems to portend a China Coast Guard presence in the Arctic, perhaps shepherding their fishing vessels.

“The Russia-China memorandum signed in Murmansk opens for joint efforts to combat terrorism, illegal migration, fighting smuggling of drugs and weapons, as well as stopping illegal fishing. The deal was signed by top leaders with FSB Border Guards and the Chinese Coast Guard.”

It may be noteworthy that this meeting was not in Asia, in one of Russia’s Pacific ports. It was in Europe, in Murmansk, on the Kola Peninsula, home of the Russian Arctic Fleet.

This agreement may turn out to be a first step toward joint China and Russia exploitation of Russia’s, as yet unrecognized, extensive continental shelf claims in the Arctic extending all the way to the North Pole and beyond into areas also claimed by Canada and Denmark (from Greenland).

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