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Cold Front: Beijing

What does China want from the North?

Words: Laicie Heeley
Pictures: Zhang Kaiyv
Date:
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Cold Front: Beijing
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  • China’s business activity in the Arctic has been attracting a lot of eyeballs. Its state-sponsored construction companies have been securing contracts for important infrastructure, and the country sees the resources in the polar regions as key to its future stability. That interest has the United States, sometimes called the “reluctant Arctic state,” perking up its[...]

China’s business activity in the Arctic has been attracting a lot of eyeballs. Its state-sponsored construction companies have been securing contracts for important infrastructure, and the country sees the resources in the polar regions as key to its future stability. That interest has the United States, sometimes called the “reluctant Arctic state,” perking up its ears.

But all this new competition in the region — it puts Arctic peoples at the center of a tricky geopolitical tango. We speak to two leaders in Greenlandic governance about how the country is managing that dance.

Reporting by Katie Toth.

Listen and subscribe now on Apple PodcastsStitcherSpotifyPocket Casts, or wherever you get your podcasts to receive a new episode every two weeks.

Guests: Willie Hensley, author; educator; former Alaska State Senator; Marisol Maddox, Senior Arctic Analyst, Wilson Center; Mia Bennett, Assistant Professor, University of Washington; Pele Broberg, Member of Parliament for Greenland; chair, Partii Naleraq; Aaja Chemnitz Larsen, Member of Parliament for Denmark; chair, Conference of Arctic Parliamentarians; Col (Ret.) Pierre LeBlanc, Canadian Armed Forces

Additional Resources:

How a Failed Social Experiment in Denmark Separated Inuit Children From Their Families,” Tara John, CNN

What Rights To Land Have Alaska Natives?: The Primary Question,” Willie Hensley, Alaskool

Could the Arctic Be a Wedge Between China and Russia?” Jeremy Greenwood and Shuxian Luo, War on the Rocks

Let’s (Not) Make A Deal: Geopolitics and Greenland,” Jon Rahbek-Clemmensen, War on the Rocks

American Imperialists Have Always Dreamed of Greenland,” Paul Musgrave, Foreign Policy

Laicie Heeley

Editor in Chief

Laicie Heeley is the founding CEO of Inkstick Media, where she serves as Editor in Chief of the foreign policy magazine Inkstick and Executive Producer and Host of the PRX- and Inkstick-produced podcast, Things That Go Boom. Heeley’s reporting has appeared on public radio stations across America and the BBC, where she’s explored global security issues including domestic terrorism, disinformation, nuclear weapons, and climate change. Prior to launching Inkstick, Heeley was a Fellow with the Stimson Center’s Budgeting for Foreign Affairs and Defense program and Policy Director at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation. Her publications include work on sanctions, diplomacy, and nuclear arms control and nonproliferation, along with the first full accounting of US counterterrorism spending after 9/11.

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