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Arctic China Polar Silk Road USA

The Polar Silk Road will be cleared with Chinese icebreakers (Jeremy Greenwood, Brookings)

The United States is an Arctic nation. With that status it enjoys unique access to the resources of this rich region — its abundant fisheries, critical minerals, energy resources, and future shipping routes. Most importantly, it has a primary say in the governance of the Arctic. Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Karl Schultz is among those who commonly say that “presence equals influence in the Arctic.” Yet, the United States has only one heavy icebreaker: the incredibly aging Coast Guard Cutter (CGC) Polar Star, and the medium icebreaker, CGC Healy, used primarily for marine science research. Neither is in a position to be utilized for year-round Arctic icebreaking operations. The Polar Star is consumed by the annual icebreaking mission to Antarctica for which there is no other government vessel capable, and the Healy, as a medium icebreaker, is not well suited for winter Arctic operations.

The Polar Silk Road will be cleared with Chinese icebreakers (brookings.edu)