US policy makers should not underestimate Chinas potential interests or influence in the Arctic region
[ Page 35 ]
The United States should neither underestimate China’s burgeoning interests in the Arctic region nor allow itself to be outdone by China. The Chinese have become acute observers of the region. According Dr. Robert Huebert, an internationally renowned Canadian expert on the Arctic at the University of Calgary, China has shown itself to be a quick study in Arctic affairs and has been doing a lot of very good homework on the region.108 The government of the United States should pay close attention to China’s engagement in Arctic affairs and consider its possible security implications, especially since the U.S. Navy in late 2009 observed that increasing economic and scientific activi- ties in the Arctic are “potential sources of competition and conflict for access and natural resources.”
Russia, Denmark, Norway, and Canada are staking their claims to Arctic resources but the United States, which has conducted research on how far the continental shelf extends from Alaska toward the North Pole, cannot submit any of its evidence because it is not a party to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).