As China’s presence in the Arctic grows, international attention also grows. This paper clarifies China’s interests in the Arctic and touches on future trends in this regard. Beginning with a discussion of China’s recent Arctic capacity building and diplomacy, this paper suggests that China looks north for basically four reasons: it is influenced by environmental changes in the Arctic; it is drawn by the business opportunities arising from the opening of the Arctic passages and better access to Arctic resources; and it is also committed to maintaining good governance in the Arctic — which is also in its best interests. At present, China’s participation in Arctic affairs is limited, but it is preparing to make greater contributions to good governance in the Arctic.

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.