Russia: US should be ‘aware’ of Moscow’s close ties to Beijing – Chinese DefMin
The United States is closely monitoring the military activity of Moscow and Beijing in the Arctic
Washington opposes interference of non-arctic countries in the affairs of the region
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Monday that the US will strengthen its military presence in the Arctic to counter Chinese and Russian expansion in the region..
“We are conducting military exercises, strengthening our military presence, modernizing our icebreaker fleet, increasing funding for the Coast Guard and creating a new leadership position for Arctic affairs in our armed forces,” Pompeo said at a meeting of the Arctic Council in the Finnish city of Rovaniemi..
“The region has become a new arena of global power and competition,” added the Secretary of State.
A few days ago, the Pentagon released a report saying China could use its Arctic research programs to strengthen its military presence..
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang stressed on Monday that Beijing is committed to a “peaceful development” strategy and called on the United States to leave behind “outdated views (generated by) the mentality "cold war", and (the idea of) a zero-sum game “.
Melting ice in the polar region opens up new sea routes and trade opportunities.
Last month, Russia announced plans to link the Northern Sea Route with China’s Maritime Silk Route, seen as a step towards developing a new shipping route from Asia to Northern Europe..
Meanwhile, China’s interest in the Arctic has been steadily growing in recent years. “China looks forward to working with all parties to build the Polar Silk Road by developing Arctic shipping lanes,” reads the document, which outlines Beijing’s official Arctic policy..
Pompeo opposed the intervention of non-arctic countries in the region.
“There are only Arctic and non-Arctic states. There is no third category, “he said, speaking in Finland on Monday..
Representatives of the armed forces of Russia and China say that the two countries intend to regularly conduct joint military exercises. In September last year, a large-scale exercise “Vostok-2018” took place, covering vast territories in Siberia, the Far East of Russia, in the Arctic and Pacific oceans. China invited to participate in such exercises for the first time.
In May 2013, China, with the support of Iceland, received the status of an “observer state” in the Arctic Council. Sino-Icelandic Arctic Research Station opened in Icelandic Karhol last year.
The Arctic contains 13 percent of undiscovered oil and 30 percent of undiscovered gas, as well as many other resources such as uranium, rare earths and millions of square kilometers of untapped fishing resources..