China’s polar strategy

November 24, 2008: China’s icebreaker <i>Xuelong</i> (<i>Snow Dragon</i>), which has a crew of approximately 265, during her 25th expedition to Antarctica (source: dpa)
November 24, 2008: China’s icebreaker <i>Xuelong</i> (<i>Snow Dragon</i>), which has a crew of approximately 265, during her 25th expedition to Antarctica (source: dpa)

Intrepid explorers battling the cold were once the only people to reach the earth’s poles, but now the Arctic and Antarctic are hotbeds of activity, with states around the world jockeying for position. Both the North and South Poles offer the potential of vast resources, trade opportunities and scientific discovery. China, somewhat late to the action, is making up for lost time by stepping up polar activities. For Beijing, these remote regions are important cogs in its long-term foreign policy, writes GIS Guest Expert Joseph Dobbs.

In 2011, Chen Lianzeng, a deputy minister in the State Oceanic Administration (SOA), announced a five-year plan to increase China’s “status and influence” ...

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