Hat tip to Senator Sullivan of Alaska for recognizing the mission and threat of Russia that he brought legislative attention to Russia’s military activity in the Arctic. As a side note, this activity is not without China participating with Russia. As noted below from the NDAA 2019:
Senator Sullivan included a number of provisions in the FY2019 NDAA to advance U.S. interests in the Arctic region, including the authorization of 6 Heavy Polar-class Icebreakers for the Coast Guard and a requirement that each military service – the Air Force, Army, Navy, and Marine Corps – produce their own strategy for the Artic region. The NDAA also includes language to urge the Secretary of Defense and the Secretary of State to examine the implications of Russian military activity in the Arctic as it related to U.S. military force posture in the region.
“Two authoritarian states with very concerning track records have pushed all-in on the Arctic,” said Senator Sullivan. “While China and Russia seem to recognize the Arctic’s economic, resource, and strategic importance, unfortunately, the U.S. has been late to see it. Thankfully, that does not include my colleagues on the Senate Armed Services Committee and, during the markup, we voted to authorize six U.S. Coast Guard Icebreakers and require each U.S. military service to complete their own individual Arctic Strategy. Slowly but surely, we’re finally beginning to wake up to the Arctic’s growing geopolitical significance.”
This advances to the point of what is going on in the Arctic. A big railroad system. Could it be that President Trump’s announcement with the EU for the United States to sell LNG to Europe is an energy coup against China and Russia?
RUSSIAN Railways (RZD) and Gazprom signed an agreement on March 30 to jointly finance the construction of the Northern Latitudinal Railway (NLR) in western Siberia.
The agreement was signed by the president of RZD, Mr Oleg Belozerov and the chairman of the board of Gazprom, Mr Alexey Miller. The line runs from Obskaya to Korotchaevo, stopping at Salekhard, Nadym, Pangody and Novy Urengoy.
The line will reduce the journey time to ports in the northwest and facilitate improved freight transport from the northern regions of western Siberia, carrying an estimated 23.9 million tonnes of predominately gas condensate and oil per year.
The project will be funded through a private investors under a concession scheme. RZD, Gazprom and Yamalo Nenets Autonomous Okrug, the main participants, will upgrade the existing infrastructure while the new facilities will be built by SPC-Concessionaire, a subsidiary of RZD.
SPC-Concessionaire will finance, build and operate the Obskaya – Salekhard – Nadym line, with a particular focus on the bridge across the Ob River, the bridge across the Nadym River, and the new 353km Salekhard – Nadym section.
RZD will reconstruct the adjacent Konosh – Kotlas – Chum Labytnangi sections of the Northern Railway as well as the Ob station and the Pangody – Novy – Urengoy – Korotchaevo line of the Sverdlovsk Railway.
Construction of the 707km line will begin in 2018 and is expected to be completed in 2022.
Could it be that China’s Silk Road mission is more that includes Russia? Yes.
China and Russia have reportedly agreed to jointly build an ‘Ice Silk Road’ along the Northern Sea Route in the Arctic.
Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Moscow on Tuesday to discuss further bilateral cooperation, according to Xinhua.
Xi said Russia is an important partner in the construction of the Belt and Road initiative – referring to Beijing’s new Silk Road project – and urged the two countries to “carry out the Northern Sea Route cooperation so as to realise an ‘Ice Silk Road’, and to implement various connectivity projects”.
The Xinhua report did not give further details about the cooperation along the Northern Sea Route, which is a shipping lane running between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean along Russia’s northern coast.
The announcement however comes shortly after China formally included the Arctic Sea to its Belt and Road initiative, which seeks to boost trade through massive investments in railroads, ports and other infrastructure linking Asia to Europe and Africa.
China’s National Development and Research Commission and State Oceanic Administration said in a document published on June 20 that a “blue economic passage” is “envisioned leading up to Europe via the Arctic Ocean”.
The other two passages run through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean to the Mediterranean and through the South China Sea to the Pacific.
The document said China hopes to work with all parties to conduct research of navigational routes as well as climatic and environmental changes in the Arctic, and to explore the region’s potential resources.
It also encouraged Chinese companies to take part in the commercial use of the Arctic route and stated that China will actively participate in the events organised by Arctic-related international organisations.
China-Russia cooperation in the Arctic
Although China is not a littoral Arctic state, it has shown interest in exploring and developing the region, which is estimated to hold 13 percent of the worlds undiscovered oil resources and a third of its undiscovered natural gas resources. More here.