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China hit out at US for decrying Beijing’s ‘predatory interests’ in Arctic

Artic Region

15 May, 2020

China`s envoy, Feng Tie to Denmark hit out at Washington’s Ambassador to Denmark, Carla Sands after she alleged that both China and Russia have baleful designs on Greenland and the Arctic region as a whole. Sands stated that only increased US influence could ensure a “secure and stable Arctic.”

“It is important to remember that any cooperation is voluntary. China can in no way impose cooperation on Greenland or Denmark,” Feng said, blasting Sands’ claims as “absurd and misleading.”

China respects the sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdictions of the Arctic states.

Accusing Beijing of “gradually trying to penetrate the [Arctic]” to promote “predatory economic interests” in an opinion piece in April, Sands said the country is gaining a “foothold” there through a network of scientific observation posts, among other things. Feng rejected that argument as well, noting that China has a right to access parts of the Arctic under the 1920 Svalbard Treaty, which granted permissions to various signatories to conduct scientific research and commercial activities in specific areas of the region.

As for China’s “predatory” financial interests, Feng said there are currently no Chinese companies operating in Greenland, but added that Beijing is open to stepped-up economic cooperation there.

Last year, US President Donald Trump floated the idea of outright buying Greenland – an autonomous territory of the Kingdom of Denmark. But the offer was rejected out of hand as “absurd” by Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, insisting Washington could not merely “buy and sell other countries and populations.”

The US stoked the ire of Copenhagen again in April, offering a $12 million aid package to “jump-start” US investment in Greenland’s tourism and energy sectors, citing the same concerns over Chinese and Russian influence. A number of Danish MPs saw the move as an attempt to “undermine” Denmark’s ties with the island, however, calling the US “agenda” in the country “unacceptable.” Washington has not had open diplomatic ties with Greenland since 1953 when the US consulate was shut down in the wake of World War II.

As Washington continues to raise red flags about ‘foreign meddling’ in the Arctic, the US Navy has embarked on provocative ‘freedom of navigation’ missions in the region, sailing warships through the Barents Sea, divided between Russian and Norwegian territorial waters. While denouncing any engagement in the Arctic by so-called “adversaries” as predatory, the US hails its own military posturing in the region as the only way to preserve “stability.”

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