November 17, 2021
General News

How a Chinese Sailboat Became a Microcosm for Arctic Geopolitics – The Diplomat

On June 30, Zhai Mo, a Chinese painter-turned-adventurer, set sail from Shanghai on what was supposed to be, in his own words, the first-ever non-stop circumnavigation of the Arctic Ocean. Zhai, whose earlier nautical achievements include a two-year solo circumnavigation of the Earth, was now embarking on a four-month journey along the shores of the world’s northernmost ocean, ostensibly to bring attention to the effects of climate change in the Arctic.

Yet there was more to the northbound odyssey than the environment. “This voyage will help implement the Belt and Road Initiative,” the China Daily declared as the modestly named Zhai Mo 1 departed Shanghai.

As climate change thaws open previously iced-over waterways in the circumpolar north, Beijing has begun using the term “Polar Silk Road” to refer to the Arctic Ocean and the various sea routes that crisscross…

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