Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev arrives in Beijing today for a three-day state visit; he is expected to discuss expanding trade ties with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
In addition to its massive investments in Central Asian infrastructure, China is looking to develop new sea routes to Europe as part of its “One Belt One Road” initiative. In July, Mr. Medvedev and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to develop Russia’s Northern Sea Route as an “Ice Silk Road.”
The route, which runs along Russia’s northern coast, would be 2,800 miles shorter than the current maritime routes between Europe and China, shaving a week off of the standard travel time. It would also circumvent the Straits of Malacca and the Suez Canal, allowing China to avoid costly fees and pirate-infested waters.
A new trade route could strengthen Moscow and Beijing’s positions in the global economy, making them predominant facilitators of trade as global warming opens new trade routes in the Arctic. Expect them to move aggressively to develop more trade passages like these.