Sunday, 17 September 2017 20:46

The globe contracts, the Arctic becomes closer to China

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The multifunction sea transshipment facility of Bronk (MMPK "Bronka", Big port St. Petersburg) accepted on September 7, 2017 the Lian Hua Sung bulk carrier Chinese the SHIPPING SPECIALIZED CARRIERS Co COSCO company., Ltd. The Russian side represented by Federal Agency for Sea and Inland Water Transport (Rosmorrechflot), its subordinated structures and Federal State Unitary Enterprise Atomflot was engaged in safety of this flight, its icebreaking and navigation support.

As reported the Xinhua agency, last week from the Chinese port Lianyungang (the Province of Jiangsu, East China) there was a vessel "Tianjian" and headed for Russia, and further to Denmark across the Northern Sea Route (NSR). This third vessel from six, planned to movement along this route this year. In 25 days the vessel will arrive to the first destination point — Esbjerg/Denmark port/, having overcome 7670 nautical miles, against 37 days and 11 060 nautical miles through the Suez Canal with the saving about 320 tons of fuel meaning reduction of bursts of carbon dioxide by 1000 tons.

"The Arctic corridor expands possibilities of China and provides to clients fast delivery" — Yu Zenggang, the deputy CEO of the COSCO Shipping Specialized Carriers Co company told. Ltd which owns the vessel "Tianjian". This Chinese company realizes several years transitions by the Northern Sea Route, and since 2013 until the end of 2016 nine times of its court seized SMP opportunities.

Thanks to northern route the expenses connected to passing of the Suez Canal and to safety were also cut down. In addition, vessels will not be prevented by bad weather in this region as, for example, a season of monsoonal rains in the Indian Ocean.

According to the deputy head of the Public oceanologic administration of China Lin Shantsina, transportation more than 90%. export of China it is carried out by sea. Opening of the Arctic sea pass means much to China.

Belt and way in an Arctic way

In June China offered the idea of three the "blue economic corridors" connecting Asia to other continents. Among them and this route connecting Asia to Europe through the Arctic Ocean as a part of an initiative "A belt and a way". At the BRICS Summit in Xiamen Chinese continued development of a subject and provided new — "blue economy", that is use of water resources and maritime transport routes. China reads this direction to one of the most convenient for own global expansion.

At the beginning of July the Chinese President Xi Jinping and the Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev agreed about cooperation on a route of the Northern Sea Route and joint creation of "An ice Silk way". And if in comments of the Russian experts it is told about appearance of the Arctic branch of the Silk way, then Chinese "Zhenmin Zhibao" in May wrote: "on May 26 in Moscow the Minister of Foreign Affairs of China Wang Also told that China welcomes and supports the initiative of "an ice Silk way" of Russia, is ready to develop jointly together with Russia and other countries the Arctic route". That is, as it is possible to understand from a performance, this Russian sentence, and China supports him, but often the Chinese support is restricted to intentions and does not pass into something bigger if China does not control all process. For now without the Russian ice breakers China cannot independently move on SMP.

Yamal and China

China is interested in receiving resources in the Arctic. At the moment corporations (20%) and Fund of the Silk way (9,9%) own shares in JSC Yamal LNG Chinese national oil and gas. The volume of deliveries from China to the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area (YNAA) in 2017 sharply increased and reached $3 billion, the press service of customs of YaNAO stated on September 5. Increase in the foreign trade commodity turnover with the People's Republic of China by 19 times is connected to construction of the plant on liquefied natural gas production of 16,5 million tons (LNG) in a year from the South Tambey gas field. The Chinese companies, as a rule, stipulate that the equipment and technologies on objects which shareholders are the Chinese companies shall be manufactured in China. The principal of department of strategic polar researches in case of the Chinese center of polar researches Zhang Xia emphasized to the Zhenmin Zhibao newspaper that construction in the Arctic is extremely complex. Nevertheless China has experience of construction of the high speed railroads on frozen soil of the Plateau of Tibet that

The first stage of the plant which is constructed by the Yamal LNG company which shareholders are also the Chinese companies shall begin operation in December, 2017. The countries of the Pacific Rim will become the main customers of LNG, they will receive 86% of gas, according to the concluded contracts. For shipment of LNG on the bank of the Kara Sea the seaport Sabetta is constructed. Among the vessels coming this year into Sabetta there was a gas tanker of the ice class "Christophe De Margeri" filled with the test volume of LNG. China considers also other projects in Russia connected to the Arctic. REGNUM news Agency reported earlier that the Chinese side is interested in projects implementation of the railway line Belkomur and the deep-water region of the port of Arkhangelsk, but as it was already marked, not always the Chinese side from declarations on intentions passes to project implementation, will not be sure of the maximum use of the Chinese machines and mechanisms, technologies and the equipment, monitoring over the subsequent maintenance of an object and receiving the maximum profit yet.

China and Northern Europe

In 2011 the China National Bluestar corporation has bought the world's largest company on production of ferroalloys for 2 billion dollars, the Norwegian Elkem.
In Greenland of the People's Republic of China is already the leader in investments into mining branch (the project of the iron-ore Isua mine worth 2,3 billion dollars and the 15 million tons concentrate annually). The Chinese investments into Greenland haven't stopped. In September, 2016 the Shenghe Resources company has got a share in the Greenland minerals and power. The government of Greenland still generally supports the Chinese investments. These are more political decisions which reduce dependence of Greenland on Denmark. Now Denmark provides to Greenland financial support and subsidies, but Greenland wants to become self-sufficient. But whether will give to Greenland this solution of technology and jobs? Most likely, no.

The Citronen project of the Ironbark company gets support of China Nonferous Metal Industry which has signed the memorandum of understanding and potential financing in Greenland. Ironbark says that Citronen is one of the world's largest a zinc resource. The company also advertizes environmentally friendly conditions in Greenland. The Chinese group on production of non-ferrous metals — the state Chinese corporation which owns mines in Zambia, Mongolia and Thailand.

In China there is only one Arctic research station — Yellow River, what isn't a lot of, in comparison with five in Antarctic. Yellow River has opened in 2004 and has observatory, the hostel on 25 people and Norway, is based on Svalbard archipelago in Ni-Alesunde. The station is sated with the most high-class equipment, emphasizing serious intentions in the Arctic region.

In December, 2016 China announced the beginning of construction of the new ice breaker which will be ready to swimming in 2019. According to the stated characteristics, the vessel constructed on ship-building shipyard by Jiangnan will be able to get access to the Arctic waters all the year round.

It is a little geopolitics

In development of northern routes for China there are also geopolitical reasons. In 2011 the U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has proclaimed the strategy of "Turn to Asia" (Pivot to Asia). Deployment of additional forces of the Navy of the USA to coast of China, maintenance of the military alliances with Japan, South Korea and Australia, establishing interaction with Philippines, Vietnam and other countries of the southern seas, creation of the centers of military tension in the South China Sea. The USA if desired can be threat for the Chinese navigation through the Strait of Malacca — "a bottle neck" of the vital trade way on which passes up to 90% of the Chinese export and import goods. And plans of such threats were considered in expert community of America, and even by military analysts. With arrival of administration of Trump the ratio of forces in this region has changed, but a certain pressure feels China and looks for alternatives.

A discovery of the Arctic navigable route is made by China less dependent on the South China Sea where now there is a geopolitical tension.

According to many experts, China considers the presence in the Arctic a safe situation. China has the sufficient technologies, the power and money which are of interest to the Arctic Council. In turn, China wants to benefit by fruits of any cooperation. Beijing also carefully goes to the north not to seem aggressive. Many consider that it because the Chinese government skillfully thinks of a long-term outlook and can afford it because it doesn't change each five years. The Arctic not necessarily is their main task today, and, perhaps, only a part of long-term planning. The Arctic won't change in the next five years, but in 30 years — it is probable, and then China will be ready.

Alexander Shimberg


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