Huge Implications of Russia’s Northern Sea Route. An Alternative to the Suez Canal? | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED


Huge Implications of Russia’s Northern Sea Route. An Alternative to the Suez Canal?

Before attending the Hamburg G20 Summit in July, China’s President Xi Jinping made a stopover in Moscow where he and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signed the “China-Russia Joint Declaration on Further Strengthening Comprehensive, Strategic and Cooperative Partnership.” The declaration includes the Northern Sea Route as a strategic area of cooperation between China and Russia, as a formal part of China’s Belt, Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure. For its part, Russia is investing major resources in development of new LNG ports and infrastructure along the route to service a growing maritime traffic passing through its Arctic territorial waters.

The Russian Federation, under the direct supervision of President Putin is building up the economic infrastructure that will create an alternative to the Suez Canal for container and LNG shipping between Europe and Asia. In addition, the developments are opening up huge new undeveloped resources including oil, gas, diamonds and other minerals along the Russian Exclusive Economic Zone, transversing its northernmost Siberian coastline.

Officially Russian legislation defines the Northern Sea Route as the territorial waters along the Russian Arctic coast east of Novaya Zemlya in Russia’s Arkhangelsk Oblast, from the Kara Sea across Siberia, to the Bering Straitthat runs between far eastern Russia and Alaska. The entire route lies in Arctic waters and within Russia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Preliminary geophysical studies confirm that vast oil and gas reserves exist below the sea floor along the Northern Sea Route of Russia’s EEZ waters, increasing interest of the Chinese government in joint resource development with Russia, in addition to the potentially shorter shipping times to and from Europe.For China, which sees increasing threats to its oil supply lines by sea from the Persian Gulf and via the Straits of Malacca, the Russian Northern Sea Route offers a far more secure alternative, a Plan B, in event of US Naval interdiction of the Malacca Straits.

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