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    Beijing Refutes US Accusations of China's Hostile Claims to Arctic

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    BEIJING (Sputnik) - Beijing has always maintained a position of peaceful and mutually beneficial cooperation in the Arctic, counter to US criticism of the opposite, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Thursday.

    "Some people in the United States have been criticising China's involvement in matters pertaining to the Arctic. Their arguments run counter to the facts and to the tendency of the development of peaceful cooperation in the region. The Arctic has an important regional and global significance and concerns [all countries], not just the ones in the region", Lu said at a daily news conference.

    Lu added that China was prepared to play a constructive role in the region, respecting geopolitical boundaries, but also proactively engaging in important regional and global matters to promote the conservation and stable development of the Arctic.

    The United States sees China and Russia as challengers to the international world order through their exploration pursuits in the Arctic region. In June, the US Defense Department published a report in which it prioritised a strategic approach to the Arctic to counter China and Russia's "competitive edge" in the region. On Tuesday, US Army Secretary Mark Esper reiterated this concern before the US Senate Armed Services Committee during his confirmation hearing for the position of US Defence Secretary.

    China introduced its Arctic Policy in January 2018 in which it defines itself as a "near-Arctic" state and set forth a series of goals to promote greater influence in the region. The document prioritises Beijing's use of Arctic shipping routes, with Russia's cooperation, and resource exploration and exploitation in the region.

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