On the pretext of China's growing activity there, the US may expand its military presence in the Arctic and deploy submarines, the Pentagon announced in a report published Thursday.
"Civilian research could support a strengthened Chinese military presence in the Arctic Ocean, which could include deploying submarines to the region," the report said.
In the document, the Asian superpower introduced its plans to create shipping lanes opened up by global warming to develop a "Polar Silk Road" that relies on China's President Xi Jinping's Belt and Road Initiative; the programme's key aim is to develop infrastructure and boost ties between Eurasian countries.
The Polar Silk Road project is of great significance to China, as it allows the Asian state to ship goods to Europe faster than via the Suez Canal; shipping via the Arctic route may save Chinese vessels around 30 days.
In addition, the recently released Pentagon report showed its concern with the alleged Chinese threat after last month Beijing showcased a nuclear-powered submarine for the first time during a key international naval parade, held on the 70th anniversary of the People's Liberation Army Navy's founding. The parade was held in the western port city of Qingdao, featuring 32 naval vessels led by China's latest and largest Type 094 (Jin-class) nuclear-powered ballistic missile sub.
The document went on to note that US submarines might be used "as a deterrent against nuclear attacks."