RDCY Research Paper No. 38: China`s Antarctic Strategy in the New Era ——Thinking and Suggestions Based on Field Research


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RDCY Research Paper No. 38: China`s Antarctic Strategy in the New Era ——Thinking and Suggestions Based on Field Research


Since 1980s to date, China has made pronounced progress in its Antarctic undertaking. However, it still payed insufficient attention to the Antarctic governance, holding just a scant share within the existing system with its statements and claims hardly noted. It is incommensurate with China`s strategic aspirations to lag far behind traditional Antarctic powers in terms of the level of scientific research and the capability of scientific expedition.

It’s urgent for China to set up and unveil its own Antarctic strategy based on the in-depth analysis of the overall and ever-changing situation of Antarctic, explicitly demonstrating its affiliation with Antarctic, clearly orienting its fundamental principles and strategic goals, and unflinchingly announcing its statements and claims.

Entering the new era, China has confronted various grave challenges in the course of participating in the Antarctic governance: China’s security interest in Antarctic is easily exposed to the potential threats brought by the instabilities of the Antarctic Treaty system; the utilization of resource is far from optimized; the backward level of scientific research and deficient capability of scientific expedition cannot keep abreast with the speed of national development aspirations; and competition for the sphere of influence hindered behind the Antarctic Specially Protected Area escalated by the existing powers hampers the new-comers’ endeavor to further explore and develop.

The new idea of global governance serves as one of principal goals for China to push forward the reform of the global governance system, by enhancing its governance in the global commons, and intensifying its participation in instituting the rules for new areas with deep sea, polar regions, outer space, and cyberspace involved, which also displayed as a best fitting junction where China could reinspect its Antarctic strategy.

Deeply participating into the Antarctic governance enables China to lead the global governance; fully optimizing the resources of Antarctic facilitates the upgrading and transformation of China’s economy; attaching significance to Antarctic security also promotes the overall security of China; developing the capabilities of scientific research is conducive to bolster China’s position in the Antarctic governance playground; and observing the ecological environment in Antarctic helps respond to the challenge of climate change.

Here are suggestions for China to participate in the Antarctic governance more effectively and efficiently as follows: pay high regard to the sovereign disputes and their potential risks and practically maintain the stability of the Antarctic Treaty system; promote the steadily development of Antarctic tourism and enhance the establishment of relevant regulations at home; increase the construction input in Antarctic and improve the infrastructures for scientific expedition and tourism; strengthen the cooperation among relative parties in southern ocean and contribute Chinese wisdom to the Antarctic governance system; optimize the domestic management structure of Antarctic affairs and cultivate international talents for the Antarctic governance.