For China, north is a new way to go west

China is not an Arctic country. Its northernmost point on the Russian border – a settlement called Mohe that is nicknamed “China’s north pole” – is well shy of the Arctic Circle.

Yet in Beijing lately, officials have made a point of calling their country a “near Arctic” state. China is increasingly casting a hungry gaze north: Its companies are exploring for oil and resources that can be mined, its diplomats are making friends with Nordic countries – with the notable exception of Canada – and its yuan are paying for polar research projects in the Antarctic and Norway.

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