Arctic Council Adds 6 Nations as Observer States, Including China

KIRUNA, Sweden — The Arctic Council agreed on Wednesday to expand to include six new nations, including China, as observer states, as a changing climate opens the Arctic to increasing economic and political competition. 

The inclusion of observer states to the council came after a spirited debate at its biennial meeting and reflected the growing prominence of the issues facing the region. The council is made up of the eight Arctic nations: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States. 

With the Arctic ice melting, the region’s abundant supplies of oil, gas and minerals have become newly accessible, as have shortened shipping routes and open water for commercial fishing, setting off a global competition for influence and economic opportunities far beyond the nations that border the Arctic. 

From the NY Times :