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Chinese Activity in Arctic Concerns Pentagon

Civilian projects could support military expansion, report warns
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 3, 2019 4:46 PM CDT
A China Shipping Line cargo ship sails sails the North Pacific Ocean off the coast of Alaska past a Finnish icebreaker in 2017.   (AP Photo/David Goldman)

(Newser) – The Pentagon sees signs of an increased Chinese presence in the Arctic region, which could include submarines intended to deter nuclear attack. The assessment was part of the Defense Department's yearly report to Congress on China's military. Arctic states are concerned about China's objectives in the region, Reuters reports; Beijing joined the Arctic Council as an observer in 2013. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to attend a council meeting Monday in Finland. China's increased commercial interests in the region are a concern; in Greenland, China has proposed establishing a research station and satellite ground station, renovating airports, and expanding mining. "Civilian research could support a strengthened Chinese military presence in the Arctic Ocean," the Pentagon report says.

China is likely to add military bases around the world in connection with its One Belt One Road global infrastructure program, the Pentagon report says. "China will seek to establish additional military bases in countries with which it has a longstanding friendly relationship and similar strategic interests, such as Pakistan, and in which there is a precedent for hosting foreign militaries," the Pentagon predicted, per the Guardian. The report says China believes the US is becoming more confrontational in response to China's increasing power. "China's leaders are leveraging China’s growing economic, diplomatic, and military clout to establish regional preeminence and expand the country’s international influence," the Defense Department said. (Read more Chinese military stories.)

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