The administration in Washington is right to be concerned about China's increasing interest in the northern polar region. Two years ago, Beijing published a White Paper outlining its Arctic policy, which includes creating a "Polar Silk Road." If fully implemented, this policy will challenge the United States and Russia for primacy in the region, where beneath the glaciers lie vast quantities of coal and natural gas.
Two Chinese polar icebreaking research vessels, Xuelong and Xuelong II, are presently carrying out the regime's 36th scientific expedition in the waters off Antarctica. The crews of these vessels will help complete China's fifth Antarctic scientific station for the gathering of data and establishment of under-the-ice submarine deployments similar to those operated by Washington and Moscow.
China's Dailan Naval Academy supports an aggressive strategy for both the northern and southern polar seas. China's Ministry of Defense and State Council continue to publish papers expressing a desire to pursue a robust maritime program, including a "Freedom of Navigation" mission in the Bering Sea, slated for some time in 2020.