China is looking to exploit the Northwest Passage, the fabled shortcut from the Pacific to the Atlantic, according to state-run media, with the world’s biggest trader in goods publishing a shipping guide to the route.
The seaway north of Canada, which could offer a quicker journey from China to the US east coast than via the Panama Canal or Cape Horn, was sought by European explorers for centuries, including by the doomed Franklin expedition of 1845.
Even now it remains ice-bound for much of the year, but global warming and the retreat of Arctic sea ice are making it more accessible, and Beijing sees it as an opportunity to reshape global trade flows.
China’s maritime safety administration earlier this month published a 356-page, Chinese-language guide including nautical charts and descriptions of ice conditions for the Northwest Passage, said the China Daily newspaper, which is published by the government.
“There will be ships with Chinese flags sailing through this route in the future,” it quoted administration spokesman Liu Pengfei as saying.
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