China's dependence on resources could force it to become more aggressive in its bid to gain access to Arctic resources
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Prudence and realism dictate that foreign policy plan and hope for the best but prepare for the worst. China is quite aware that its “size and rise to power status evoke jitters,” and according to Linda Jakobson, Beijing has decided, for the time being at least, to “advocate cautious Arctic policies for fear of causing alarm and provoking countermea- sures among the Arctic states.”132 But this reticence and restraint on China’s part will not likely last indefinitely. China is very heavily dependent on international shipping (energy imports and finished goods exports) for its economic, social, and political stability;133 if and when the Arctic proves to be truly valuable for its natural resources and sea routes, Beijing will likely become much more assertive. The United States should be prepared for the possibility that Beijing could someday conclude that developments or situations in the Arctic threaten China’s economic prosperity, and thus Chinese social stability and ultimately the political power of the Communist Party of China. At a minimum it is in the interest of the United States and the other A5 NATO democracies to maintain defen- sive capabilities for safeguarding the security of the Arctic region.