China and Russia’s cooperation in constructing the “Polar Silk Road”: opportunities and challenges

WANG Zhimin1,2,3 CHEN Yuanhang4

(1.Research Institute of Globalization and China’s Modernization)
(2.Research Center of Xi Jinping Thought on Opening to the Outside World)
(3.Collaborative Innovation Center for Theoretical Research on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics of Universities in Beijing (University of International Business and Economics))
(4.Institute of International Economy, University of International Business and Economics)

【Abstract】As one of the blue economic passages, the “Polar Silk Road” has been fitted into the overall layout of the “Belt and Road” Initiative. As the shortest shipping route, the “Polar Silk Road” connects Europe, Asia, and North America, therefore it is also known as new lifeblood of international shipping route. Currently, two important pivot points are involved to the “Polar Silk Road”: Northeast Passage and the Arctic development, which will promote all-rounded cooperation between Arctic and near-Arctic countries such as maritime transport, polar development, and Arctic governance in order to achieve mutual benefits and gradually construct an ice economic corridor, it will expand the geo-spatial of 21st century Maritime Silk Road as well as innovate cooperation mode and concept in the framework of the “Belt and Road” Initiative. Meanwhile, the “Polar Silk Road” also faces constraints in spheres of geopolitics, traditional trade routes and ecological environment. As an advocate and an active participant of the “Polar Silk Road,” China is supposed to fully exploit the opportunities and potentials and correctly handle various challenges.

【Keywords】 Polar Silk Road; 21st Century Maritime Silk Road; Ice Economic Corridor; blue economic passage; Northeast Passage;

【DOI】

【Funds】 Project of the National Social Sciences Foundation of China (14BGJ003)

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    Footnote

    [1]. ① The term “North Passage”(Северныйморскойпуть) was coined by the Soviet Union. In 1932, the official document of the Soviet Union officially used the term. Russia continued to use and popularize the concept after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, which was recognized by the international community. The concept has appeared in a large number of media reports and academic works ever since. [^Back]

    [2]. ② Another argument is that in 1787, Finnish scientist Adolf Erik led the fleet to open the Northeast Passage. See http://www.chinare.gov.cn/caa/gb_news.php? modid=04002&id=146, (2008-4-25). [^Back]

    [3]. ① On August 17, 2017 (Beijing time), China’s eighth Arctic expedition team crossed the Central Passage for the first time by icebreaker Xuelong, successfully opening a new sea route linking Eurasia. Icebreaker Xuelong is China’s first ship to successfully cross the Central Passage. [^Back]

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This Article

ISSN:1003-7411

CN: 22-1180/C

Vol 27, No. 02, Pages 17-33+127

March 2018

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Article Outline

Abstract

  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 Historic opportunities for China and Russia to jointly build the “Polar Silk Road”
  • 3 Challenges facing Sino-Russian co-construction of the “Polar Silk Road”
  • 4 Conclusions and countermeasures
  • Footnote

    References