Canada’s Northern Strategy and East Asian Interests in the Arctic

East Asia-Arctic Relations Paper No. 5

December 9, 2013

This paper examines Canadian perceptions of East Asia’s Arctic interests. Whereas some commentaries conceptualize Asian states, particularly China, as potential threats to Canada’s interests in the Arctic, the basis for this alarmist rhetoric (apart from more generalized discourses associated with the “rise of Asia”) is speculative and imprecise. Using Canada’s Northern Strategy and the Statement on Canada’s Arctic Foreign Policy as filters, this paper suggests where Asia’s Arctic interests may converge or diverge with those of Canada. It also recommends various messages that Canada may wish to emphasize in its interactions with Asian states to safeguard its national interests, promote sustainable development for the benefit of Northerners, and enhance cooperation and constructive dialogue in the circumpolar world.

Part of Series

East Asia-Arctic Relations: Boundary, Security and International Politics

This series of six papers provides intensive analysis and discussion of historic, contemporary and future developments in East Asia-Arctic relations, from a group of leading experts from Japan, China, South Korea, the United States and Canada, working in the fields of Arctic sovereignty and international relations.

About the Authors

P. Whitney Lackenbauer is associate professor and chair of the department of history at St. Jerome’s University (University of Waterloo). An expert in Arctic sovereignty and modern Canadian military, diplomatic and political history, he is currently leading a collaborative research project on the internationalization of the Arctic Council.