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Arctic Yearbook 2012
Shipping and Resources in the Arctic Ocean
system assumes particular relevance since many of the former food suppliers to the (Russian) Arctic
are now far ‘abroad’ (Ukraine, Belarus, Central Asia)” (Granberg, 1992: 13). Granberg also
recommended delivery of oil from the Russian Arctic to the West Coast of the U.S. in exchange for
American food supplies to the Russian Far East through a trans-oceanic sea lane across the Pacific,
connecting with the NSR. In this scheme, the NSR would be used to distribute large portions of U.S.
supplies to the Arctic regions through connecting rivers. This suggestion has not yet materialized.
According to Japanese experts,
…progress in international specialization and economic globalization has accelerated and
broadened the interrelationship between the two regions [Russian Far East and
Northeast Asia] both socially and economically. It is widely known that oil and natural
gas development off the coast of Sakhalin Island provides a wide range of multiplier
effects in these areas. And in this way, the globalized face of the economy and industry
will play an important role in the sustainable development of the Russian Far East and
East Asia for many years to come…The abundant natural resources in the extreme north
area of the Russian Far East will draw [the]…attention of the international market
(Otsuka, 2006: 71).
Chinese researchers claim that the opening of the Arctic routes “will advance the development of
China’s north-east region and eastern coastal area, [and]…it is of importance to East-Asian
cooperation as well” (Jacobson, 2010: 7). As has been pointed out, the “non-Arctic states, China,
Japan, North Korea and South Korea are all in the same boat” (Jacobson, 2010: 13). When it comes
to the prospects of an ice-free Arctic, each of these countries:
…stands to benefit enormously from shorter commercial shipping routes and possible
access to new fishing grounds and other natural resources. A unified Arctic strategy
would be of their mutual interest. Finding ways to jointly use an ice-free Arctic has the
potential to create a genuine win-win situation for both China and Japan, the two East-
Asian powers which in so many other areas find it difficult to find common ground
Arctic shipping could contribute to economic development in east and northeast China. “Known as
the rust belt, China is actively promoting the economic and industrial revitalization of this region,
which lags behind other major industrial and manufacturing centres” (Chircop, 2011: 12).
Thus, the countries bordering on the Northeast Pacific may in due time find common ground to
formally establish a Northern Pacific Corridor connecting the Northeast Asian countries to the NEP
(NSR), NWP and TPP with a trans-oceanic branch to the North American West Coast. In the
meantime, and while waiting for regional cooperation to mature, these waters are freely available to
increasing international shipping as High Seas servicing both transit and destination shipments.