04/20/2016, 09.52
CHINA
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Beijing launches "Arctic route" to unite the Pacific and Atlantic

The government plan is to prevent maritime traits being exclusively under the control of Western nations, saving time and money. Ships flying the Chinese flag "invited" to study this alternative, made possible by melting ice.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Ships flying the Chinese flag should face the Northwest Passage in the Arctic Ocean to open a route between the Atlantic and the Pacific. This is the invitation in a long article published today in the China Daily newspaper, which raises an old dream of Moscow and Beijing to join the two sides of the planet without going through the routes subject to the control of Western nations. The prospect could become reality thanks to climate change, which is melting the ice of the polar circle making it navigable.

China is increasingly active in the polar region. It is currently one of the largest investors in the mining sector of Greenland and has signed a free trade agreement with Iceland. The Arctic Council - a group of nations that oversees the area's problems and represents the indigenous peoples - has also accepted Beijing as an observer state. The permanent members are Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, United States (representing Alaska) and Sweden.

As well as opening up possible trade routes outside of Western influence, the Arctic route would allow Chinese ships to save time and money. The trip from Shanghai to Hamburg, for example, would be reduced to 2,800 nautical miles with respect to the passage through the Suez Canal.

The State Administration for Maritime Safety has published a guide in April - 356 pages - which explains the details of the journey between the northern coast of North America and the North Pacific. Spokesman, Liu Pengfei, said: "Once this step becomes commonly used, it will change the face of global maritime transport and will have a profound influence on international trade, the world economy, the flow of capital and the exploitation of resources. "

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