Michael Byers has an excellent analysis on China, the Arctic, oil and international relations in today's Al Jazeera:
The dragon looks north
China grows hungry for Arctic resources and shipping routes as northern ice melts._______________
Snubbed by Arctic countries
China's laissez-faire approach to Arctic legal disputes has, however, been shaken by the recent actions of Arctic countries.
In 2009, China applied for permanent observer status at the Arctic Council, a regional organisation composed of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the US. It was a reasonable request, since countries as distant as Poland and Spain had already been accorded that status.
However, the Chinese request came at the same time as one from the European Union, which was caught up in a dispute with Canada over restrictions on the trade of seal products. When Canada retaliated by blocking the EU's request for permanent observer status at the Arctic Council, China's application was collaterally suspended - and has remained so ever since._______________
China is respecting international law and has legitimate interests in the Arctic. Its request for permanent observer status should be granted forthwith.
Dragons, even well behaved ones, do not appreciate being snubbed.
Indeed . . . .