China has recently laid out its goals to extend the Belt and Road Initiative to the Arctic by developing shipping lanes opened up by global warming.
China, since releasing its very first Arctic policy white paper, have stated that it would inspire enterprises to build infrastructure and administer commercial trial voyages which would encourage Arctic shipping routes to form a ‘Polar Silk Road’.
Despite being a non-Arctic state, China is becoming more and more active in the polar region and in 2013, became an observer member of the Arctic Council.
Among China’s interests in the region is its significant sake in Russia’s Yamal liquefied natural gas development. The project is expected to supply China with 4 million tonnes of LNG a year, according to sources.
By shipping through the Northern Sea Route, it would take almost 20 days off the usual time using the normal route through the Suez Canal.