PRC Foreign Ministry: China is interested in the Arctic’s peaceful development
© RIA Novosti. Aleksandr Vilf

PRC Foreign Ministry: China is interested in the Arctic’s peaceful development

China has always pursued a policy of peaceful and mutually beneficial development in the Arctic, while US criticism is at odds with this tendency and with the facts, foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a briefing on July 18.

Earlier, candidate for Pentagon chief Mark Esper went on record as saying that Russia and China were posing a strategic challenge to the US in the Arctic. According to Esper, it is via the Arctic that Russian cruise missiles will head for the US in case of a Russian military attack. Speaking about China, he said that the PRC could use predatory economic tactics in the Arctic to advance its interests.

"Some people in the United States are criticizing China's involvement in Arctic affairs. But their reasoning is at variance with facts and a tendency towards peaceful cooperation in the Arctic. The Arctic is not about the Arctic countries' interests alone. It has much regional and global importance," the diplomat said.

He went on to say that managing Arctic affairs called for a contribution from all stakeholders and that "as such China will not cross the red line and meddle in the region's affairs. But neither will it be absent when it comes to inter-regional and global concerns."  

"We intend to continue playing a constructive role, in keeping with the policy of openness and mutually beneficial cooperation, and participate in the efforts to protect the environment and promote sustained development in the Arctic jointly with other stakeholders," he stressed.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said somewhat earlier that Moscow was open to the "broadest possible" sort of cooperation in the Arctic and that there were no reasons for conflict in that region. According to Mr. Lavrov, Russia regards the Arctic as a "space of peace, stability and fruitful cooperation."