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China Military Expanding Reach Into Arctic Region, Pentagon Says

  • Icebreakers, research stations may support military deployment
  • Annual report also highlights Chinese influence operations
The Chinese icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, leaves Shanghai port for an Arctic expedition, July 2018.
The Chinese icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, leaves Shanghai port for an Arctic expedition, July 2018.Photographer: Imaginechina via AP Photo

China is accelerating activities in the Arctic as part of its “Polar Silk Road” and trying to promote itself as a “near-Arctic state,” the U.S. Defense Department said.

A growing fleet of icebreakers and civilian research stations in Iceland and Norway could support a strengthened People’s Liberation Army presence in the polar region, the Pentagon said Thursday in its annual report on China’s military. The department cited the potential deployment of nuclear-armed China submarines to the region as one area of U.S. concern.