China, the People's Republic Whereof, wants to establish an Arctic research station in Tuktoyaktuk or Cambridge Bay, NWT.
John Higginbotham, senior fellow at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs and the Centre for International Governance Innovation and Arctic policy expert, knows that China is eyeing the Arctic's resource wealth, but says that Canada should welcome researchers, as long as they can ensure that Chinese research adds and builds on work already done by Canada.
"I am not at all concerned that we, Canada, cannot well protect our sovereign interest... while at the same time finding important areas of co-operation and common interest with China," says Higginbotham.
Before we go along with this sort of thing it might be prudent if we got some thorny issues clarified first.
One problem arises out of China's position that seabed resources in the Arctic Ocean should not be governed by the standard international conventions. China is not an Arctic nation and so it fears that the existing protocols could impair its access to these resources.
A second problem is that China has already stated it wants to maintain a permanent military presence in Arctic waters. Why? Does it think the Northwest Passage is in peril from Inuit copying Somali pirates? Does it worry that Russia, the United States, Canada and Norway can't maintain naval security in their shared waters?
Of course we have a huge problem. Beijing is currently our prime minister's Head Office and the Nexen deal showed how low Harper will go to keep his masters happy.