The announcement from Beijing confused the Canadians who claim sovereignty over the waters transited by the Xue Long. The Globe and Mail reported that the Canadian government thought the the Snow Dragon was on scientific research trip along with the Canadian scientists who were also on board.
The Xue Long (or Snow Dragon) traveled for 2,300 nautical miles through waters claimed by Canada for eight days. Xinhua proclaimed the voyage and would provide "a wealth of navigation experience" for future Chinese ships.
In recent years, the continued disappearance of Arctic sea ice has fueled projections for the Arctic as a new international trade route.
For China, the Northwest Passage could become a new notch in its multibillion-dollar logistics program known as the Belt and Road Initiative. The appeal includes the shortening of trade routes between China and North America. A Shanghai-to-New York route , for example, stretches 10,500 nautical miles through the Suez Canal. The Northwest Passage would cut that route by nearly 2,000 nautical miles and seven days of transit time.