China could strengthen their military presence in the Arctic according to the Pentagon (Image: GETTY)
The Pentagon said in a document released on Thursday that Chinese activities could include the deployment of submarines to act as deterrents against nuclear attack. The assessment was included in the US military’s annual report to Congress on China’s armed forces following Beijing’s publication of its first Arctic policy white paper in June last year. China outlined plans in the paper to develop new shipping lanes as a result of global warming to form a “Polar Silk Road”.
Although China is a non-Arctic state, the country has become increasingly active in the region and became an observer member of the Arctic Council in 2013.
The move has triggered concerns from Arctic states over Beijing’s long-term strategic objectives and possible military deployment.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will attend a meeting of the eight-nation Arctic Council in Rovaniemi, Finland, on Monday.
The meeting comes amid concerns over China’s increased commercial interests in the Arctic.
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