New analysis reveals that China describes the Arctic as one of the world’s “new strategic frontiers” and is seeking to become a “polar great power.” Though it downplays this goal publicly, it has taken steps to exert greater influence in the region by joining its institutions, like the Arctic Council as a permanent observer, and engaging in high-level diplomacy. Likewise, it has increased its military investments, dispatched naval vessels to the Arctic, and built its first icebreaker. Chinese military texts treat the Arctic as a zone of future military competition, raising questions within NATO — which is also focused on Russia’s resurgent presence in the region — about how to ensure the Arctic remains stable and free from conflict.
On May 5, Foreign Policy at Brookings convened a panel of practitioners, academics, and policy experts to discuss a new report by Rush Doshi, Alexis Dale-Huang, and Gaoqi Zhang — “Northern expedition: China’s Arctic activities and ambitions” — which explores these themes and considers how the United States and its allies and partners should respond. Questions from the audience followed the discussion.
Viewers submitted questions via email to email@example.com or on Twitter using #ArcticChina.
Senior Vice President, Director of the Europe Program - Center for Strategic and International Studies
Associate Professor - Royal Danish Defence College
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AAPI Heritage Month: Safeguarding Asian American inclusion and belonging
President López Obrador's extension of the term of Supreme Court chief Arturo Zaldívar is part of his strong effort to recentralize power in the Mexican presidency and hollow out the independence and power of other Mexican institutions. His other moves to bend the justice system to his will include a reform that lowered the salary of judges but did not improve the quality of prosecutors and his unwillingness to allow an independent selection of the attorney general, with López Obrador himself retaining the power of appointment. His latest move with the two-year extension of Zaldívar’s term is especially worrisome. Zaldívar is also the president of the powerful Federal Judiciary Council. The council appoints and dismisses judges, sets career advancement rules and disciplines judges. Zaldívar will be setting the council’s and, thus, the whole judiciary’s, agenda and priorities for two years. This allows López Obrador to influence how courts will rule in cases regarding the executive branch, what cases they take up and the legality of new policies. These moves are taking place when the effectiveness of the judiciary in Mexico remains limited and deeply concerning. The attorney general’s office has proven weak, unwilling to take up key cases such as against the suspects in the brazen attack on Mexico City’s security minister, Omar García Harfuch—an event that symbolized the impunity with which Mexican criminal groups operate. Mexico’s justice system showed itself equally meek and disappointing in inadequately investigating the alleged complicity of former Mexican Defense Minister Salvador Cienfuegos and dismissing the case, potentially the most significant case of corruption and criminal collusion charges against a high-ranking Mexican official in two decades. A decade and a half after Mexico initiated its justice system reforms, 95 percent of federal cases still go unpunished. President López Obrador has scored some points, but the already precariously weak rule of law in Mexico, and thus the Mexican people, will suffer.