Russia will increase naval patrols in the Arctic Ocean to defend its interests against nations such as China seeking a share of the area's mineral wealth, the navy commander was quoted as saying....
Arctic nations such as Canada, Russia, Norway, the United States and Denmark are trying to file territorial claims over the oil, gas and precious metal reserves under the Arctic sea bed that may become accessible as the ice cap shrinks.
But in a rare public warning about China from Russia's top military brass, Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky warned that China had already joined the scramble for a piece of "the Arctic pie".
"We are observing the penetration of a host of states which ... are advancing their interests very intensively, in every possible way, in particular China," Admiral Vysotsky was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.
Russia would "not give up a single inch" in the Arctic.
"The ships of the Northern and Pacific fleets are continuing to increase their military presence in the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation with new navy ships," he was quoted as saying by state RIA news agency.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin tried to dampen fears of China last month, saying Russia had nothing to fear from its eastern neighbor, though many senior officials in Moscow are privately concerned about China's growing global clout.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said in a research note in March that China was positioning itself to gain from the prospect of new Arctic shipping routes and the region's untapped resources as the ice cap melts.
China, the world's fastest growing major economy, has sought to secure long-term oil and gas supplies from Russia, the world's biggest energy producer, which has a population of 142 million compared to China's 1.3 billion.
By international law, Canada, Russia, Norway, the United States and Denmark have a 370km (200 nautical mile) economic zone north of their Arctic borders.
Russia wants more, claiming the Arctic Ocean sea floor is an extension of its continental shelf, though Putin urged Arctic nations last month to cut a deal on how to explore the region's mineral resources.
Russia believes its entire Arctic territory holds twice as much oil and gas reserves as Saudi Arabia, the world's second biggest oil producer after Russia.
An admiral stakes a territorial claim—and it looks like there’s more to come.
‘The Arctic belongs to all the people around the world as no nation has sovereignty over it.’ So said Chinese Rear Admiral Yin Zhuo, in comments relayed by the official China News Service on March 5 that essentially staked Beijing’s claim to the North Pole.
Of course, China, lacking an Arctic coast, has no recognizable right to any portion of the roof of the world. The five Arctic littoral states—Canada, Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States—do, however, and their overlapping claims remain unresolved.
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