| FNI NEWS
Asian Countries' Interest in the Arctic: What Will It
Mean for Norway?
(06.07.2012) Will Asia's
Arctic ascent affect Norway's ability to pursue its policies in the High North?
A new, major research project looks into the Arctic policies of China, Japan,
South Korea and India.
Norway's ability to defend national interests
is challenged as steadily more governments and companies eye opportunities in
the High North. Melting ice, new transport routes and strong demand for energy
and other mineral resources are main drivers.
Asian players are rapidly
becoming part of the puzzle, in line with their conspicuous rise to global
power. China is key, and its resource-motivated power manifestations are also
important drivers of Arctic strategies of countries like Korea, Japan and
Will Asia accept or challenge the current Arctic
A new major 3-year research project coordinated by the
Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) will map and analyze the activities, policies
and decision-making processes of these four countries towards the Arctic region
in the fields of security, energy, shipping and research.
question will be whether the promotion of these Asian states' interests in the
Arctic will take a primarily cooperative form, or whether we will see
challenges to the existing Arctic governance system, with the UN Law of the Sea
Convention as the basic framework, supplemented by regulations established by
the Arctic coastal states or emerging under international
FNI Director Leiv Lunde plays a key coordinating role
in the project.
"This large project is one of the first, major efforts
to address Asian aspirations in the Arctic, and places Norway firmly on the
global map in regard to this question. Two of FNI's long-standing research
areas are Arctic cooperation and Chinese environmental politics, and it feels
very natural for us to combine these two competence areas for this project,"
The research questions
with the Norwegian Institute for Defence Studies (IFS) and partners in each of
the Asian countries in question, the issues to be studied by the FNI include
||What will climate change mean for economic and
political activities in the Arctic?
||Why and how will China and other Asian countries
act to gain access to resources and transport routes in the Arctic? What
interests do these countries see in the Arctic, how strong are they and how
important actors will the Asian countries become in the coming decade?
||Why is an Arctic sea route the Northeast
Passage so attractive for countries in Northeast Asia, and to what
degree may Asian shipping and energy interests contribute to intensify the
opening of the route?
||What does Asia's fast growing interest for the
Arctic mean for the political and military security balance in the High North?
How will and should Russia and other Arctic states (including Norway) handle
Asia's march towards the North?
||How will the fight over Arctic resources influence
the relationship between the major powers Russia and China, and how will this
relationship influence Norwegian interests?
||How will China and other Asian countries seek to
influence the Arctic Council, the UN Law of the Sea Convention and
organizations such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO)?
||What will Asia's entry into the Arctic mean for
Norwegian interests political, economic, military, energy-wise and in
relation to environment and climate? How should Norway handle Asian aspirations
for a clearer presence in the High North and for participation in the Arctic
The project is funded by the Research Council of
|The Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI) is an
independent foundation engaged in research on international environmental,
energy, and resource management politics.
The Institute maintains a
multi-disciplinary approach, with main emphasis on political science,
economics, and international law.