MOSCOW, July 24 (RIA Novosti) - Chinese scientists are seeking the possibility for mineral resources extraction in the Arctic Ocean, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Geography at Lomonosov Moscow State University Sergei Dobrolyubov told RIA Novosti on Thursday.
“First and foremost, China is doing a research that serves China’s interests. They are building a new research icebreaker. They are exploring ice conditions in the eastern Arctic region in particular. It’s a matter of mineral resources: if they find a rich area of the sea floor and create a technology to develop it, they will do so,” Dobrolyubov said.
At present, Chinese research ship Snow Dragon is on its sixth international expedition to the Arctic region. Members of the expedition are to conduct research in the Bering Sea, the Bering Strait, the Chukchi Sea, the Chukchi Plateau, and the Beaufort Sea. The crew consists of 128 people, including scientists from Russia, the United States, France and Germany.
Chinese researchers are also keen on monitoring the climate change in the Arctic region and how it affects the local ice conditions.
“From this standpoint, they are interested in the Northern Sea Route, which allows cheaper goods transportation. It is important for them to understand how long it takes for ships to pass there, whether they need to build their own ice breakers, which is costly, and use Russian ice breakers that are paid for,” the Deputy Dean added.
China relies on overseas oil to help powering its economy, which is the second-largest economy in the world. It has been active in the polar region of late, becoming one of the biggest mining investors in Greenland and striking a free trade deal with Iceland. Shorter shipping routes across the Arctic Ocean would save Chinese companies time and money.