Following the US Department of Navy's release of its new Arctic Strategy paper, a specific statement in the associated press release has received increased attention, referring to China as an Arctic state. It is not known whether China is mentioned as an Arctic state by accident.
The press release from the US Navy states that the new strategic blueprint “places focus on the rising maritime activity spurring from Arctic states, like Russia and China, which posture their navies to protect sovereignty and national interests while enabling their ability to project power.”
Several people are speculating on whether the Department intentionally meant to refer to China as an Arctic state.
On Twitter, Professor of Geopolitics Klaus Dodds at Royal Holloway, University of London, asks if China is recognized as an Arctic state by accident.
Former President of Iceland and Chairman of the Arctic Circle conference, Ólafur Grímsson, also noted on Twitter that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the Arctic Council Ministerial Meeting in Finland in 2019 said that China was not even a “near-Arctic state”.
Only a few days ago, Mike Pompeo posted the following on Twitter:
In the newly released strategic blueprint for the Arctic, China is not mentioned as an Arctic state. Both Russia and China's military activity are viewed as challenges facing the United States and the Arctic region.
"Without sustained American naval presence and partnerships in the Arctic Region, peace and prosperity will be increasingly challenged by Russia and China, whose interests and values differ dramatically from ours," the strategic blueprint reads.
Note: On Thursday January 7, the US Navy's press release statement has been changed to the following:
"The blueprint places focus on the rising maritime activity spurring from Arctic and non-Arctic states, like Russia and China, which posture their navies to protect sovereignty and national interests while enabling their ability to project power."