The most significant geophysical event on our planet since the end of the ice age is taking place today—the opening of the Arctic. As the High North maritime environment warms, the Arctic Ocean’s abundant energy, minerals, fish stocks, and other natural resources are becoming increasingly accessible, while new potential maritime routes promise to reduce shipping times and costs and accelerate ties between major commercial centers. These new opportunities for energy development, natural resources extraction, and shipping suggest that the region risks becoming an arena of intense competition, tension, and potentially even confrontation, not only between the United States and its two near-peer strategic competitors—China and Russia—but also among other Asia-Pacific states with observer status in the Arctic Council. Continue reading
This is also exactly why China and a few other nations wanted to ‘combat piracy’ in the open seas. They used this as a cover to patrol areas they really had no need to, show their presence and the ability project power. At the same time, they got a win-win because they received good public reactions as they successfully portrayed themselves as fighting terrorism.
Chinese merchant vessels could be used as cover to allow PLA ballistic missile submarines to penetrate the “First Island Chain,” extending from Alaska to the Philippines, during peace time, according to Chinese Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo, cited by state-run People’s Daily. Continue reading