A Canadian Arctic Policy for the Indo-Pacific


The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada is a great resource on that nation’s relationships and objectives in the region. One of the issue areas they track is Strategic Asia, and they occasionally check in on Arctic issues as they did in 2018 with a four-part series on China’s Polar Silk Road. The author of that series, Sebastian Murdoch-Gibson, also did a 2018 write-up of China’s interest in Russia’s Yamal LNG plant.

Earlier this year the Foundation published A Canadian Arctic Policy for the Indo-Pacific, a hefty eighty-six page report that is required reading on the topic. The report is constructed in three parts: historical perspective, individual nation profiles, and recommendations. The nation profiles are for Japan, South Korea, China, and Singapore. Each has the same format, also in three parts, treating the nation’s priorities, engagement approach, and actors.

The last section for each nation, on actors, is particularly useful. It is divided into governmental, research, academic, and commercial sector actors. Each of these sections has a well-laid-out table listing each actor in the sector and their role in Arctic engagement. The format is a model for this kind of analysis and could be profitably applied to the United States or any other nation.

Likewise the table beginning on page 71 in the report summarizes opportunities and recommendations for Canada to engage more fully with each of the four Asian nations covered in the report. The general recommendation that “Canada should continue to engage with all four Asian non-Arctic states through these multilateral platforms to ensure co-operative and rules-based governance of the Arctic” is well-served throughout.

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