Supervisor: Dr Nicholas Thomas
PhD Research Thesis Topic
- China and its Arctic agenda
Brief Abstract: The gradual disappearance of the Arctic ice and increased accessibility to the region`s natural resources and shipping lanes have drawn considerable attention of non-Arctic states. Among these newcomers, China occupies a prominent position due to its economic and military influence. Although China has not published any official Arctic policy, it appears to have set an agenda with regards to the region. Therefore the goal of my research is to answer a simple, but very important question: What is China`s Arctic agenda? In order to do so, I shall focus my research on three interrelated areas:
· the history and the current state of affairs in the Arctic region in environmental, economic and geopolitical terms,
· the Asian engagement with the Arctic region - to comparatively analyse approaches taken by South Korea, Japan, Singapore and India towards the Circumpolar North (for the discussion whether or not there are possibilities for these countries to cooperate on Arctic matters),
· the analysis of China`s undertakings in the Arctic from two perspectives:
a) international - China`s relations with Arctic states (US, Russia, Canada, Greenland/Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland),
b) domestic - viewpoints of Chinese government officials, scholars/scientists focusing on the Arctic and the business sector.
My research will heavily draw on Neoclassical Realism as this theory of foreign policy is best suited to explain the present state of China`s interest in the Arctic region. It is absolutely crucial to conduct such research as we are witnessing a historical shift in the way China operates as an international state. The insights that are gained will also allow us to better understand the role of the Arctic region in China`s foreign policy and the possible directions China might take in the future with respect to this part of the world.