Here’s Why You Need To Watch The Burgeoning Relationship Between China And Greenland
by Adam Taylor
“I think that China together with other nations is taking a huge interest in the Arctic area in general and specifically in Greenland, and we have seen quite a number of visitors from China over the last couple of years,” Prime Minister Kuupik Kleist said this week. “We don’t really have that much co-operation for the time being, but I know that Chinese companies are showing an interest in Greenland.”
“Greenland is also showing an interest in China: my minister for minerals (and industry) and labor is going to China today on an official visit. I would see a future co-operation as a very positive one and we welcome the Chinese interest,” he continued.
There’s a few reasons why this is interesting:
- We are already seeing a huge grab for land in the Arctic. The reason? It’s believed that there might be a huge amount of untapped natural oil and gas reserves under the surface.
- The key players so far have been Russia and Canada — both countries that actually border the Arctic region. Russia’s push has been particularly notable, with talks of even building an “Arctic city” to house scientists and workers in the region.
- Greenland gained self-rule from Denmark in 2009. Since then the country (population 56,534) has been trying to work out a new, more independent economic system. However, Denmark still controls Greenland’s foreign policy.
- It is thought that 10 percent of the world’s unproven oil reserves and 30 percent of its gas reserves might exist under the rapidly shrinking Greenland ice sheet.
- The Danish Ambassador to the United States Peter Taksoe-Jensen recently gave a talk at Dartmouth that showed Denmark would allow Greenland a lot of leway in making decisions (Foreign Affairs has a good summary of that here).
- China, unlike other key world powers in the debate, has no real claim to land in the Arctic circle. However, it has already performed a number of probes into the Arctic area, which are speculated to be because of interest in a new shipping route once ice melts in the area.
- A Chinese tycoon has already announced somewhat mysterious plans for a “hotel and golf course” on an island off the coast of Iceland. This island, of course, also has a unique strategic position.
We hadn’t really considered Russia a true player in the great Arctic land grab before — but maybe that needs reconsidering.
- Cairn Uses Centek Itsfu in Greenland Offshore Operations (mb50.wordpress.com)
- Commercial exploitation of Greenland and the Arctic region… Denmark says, “We are not nervous” (gcaptain.com)
- Cairn draws a blank at second Arctic well (guardian.co.uk)
Posted on November 14, 2011, in Arctic, Arctic Ocean, Canada, China, Russian Federation and tagged Arctic, Arctic Ocean, Cairn Energy, Canada, China, Denmark, Gas, Greenland, Natural resources, oil, Russian Federation. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Here’s Why You Need To Watch The Burgeoning Relationship Between China And Greenland.