NORTH BY NORTHEAST: TOWARDS AN ASIAN-ARCTIC REGION
University of Cambridge
Scott Polar Research Institute
Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
MetadataShow full item record
Bennett, M. (2013). NORTH BY NORTHEAST: TOWARDS AN ASIAN-ARCTIC REGION (Masters thesis). https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.9649
While the Arctic is on the front lines of climate change, it is also on the front lines of experiments in governance. Chinese, Japanese, and Korean interest in the Arctic is pressuring the Arctic Council, the region’s preeminent multilateral organization, to reconsider how it cooperates with states traditionally perceived as non-Arctic. The seafaring states of China, Japan, and Korea have commercial interests in the Arctic involving shipping, hydrocarbons, and fisheries. Yet questions of identity and power projection are also paramount, as the Arctic allows the Northeast Asian countries to display their growing capabilities through scientific endeavors and maritime transits. Several of the Arctic Council’s member states, namely Canada and Russia, assertively promote national sovereignty and territoriallyascribed sovereignty in the region. But networks and relations are crucial aspects of activities in the circumpolar north, especially when scientific collaboration and natural resource extraction require large amounts of capital and cooperation. Flows of capital, goods, and people are connecting Chinese consumers with mineral deposits in Greenland and Korean engineers with Russian oil oligarchs. At the same time, these flows do not mean that we should constrain our thinking about the Arctic to one side of the territory-network dichotomy. China promotes the Arctic as a global commons while it simultaneously claims to be a near- Arctic state, revealing the tension between privileging flows and territory in the circumpolar north. I analyze trade statistics, rhetorical framings, and scientific endeavors to understand how the Northeast Asian countries are turning their interests in the Arctic into national identities and how economic interests in the North Pacific – the Arctic near abroad of China, Japan, and Korea – could eventually translate into region building measures and even regional identities.
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.9649