UK Official: Russia and China Should Be Viewed as an Alliance in the Arctic

Warns there is a split between Russia, China, and the West

Tobias Ellwood, the head of Britain’s Defense Select Committee, is arguing that the world should just start treating China and Russia as a single force, and a single alliance, for the sake of policy in the Arctic, saying there is no reason to distinguish one from the other.

This is built around the posture of the factions, as everyone in the Arctic is hostile to China except Russia, and hostile to Russia except China. That isn’t to say that the two are aligned in their goals, but rather that it is convenient to treat them as an undifferentiated enemy for the sake of Arctic buildups.

The Arctic is seen as the next major territorial battle for the world, with nations in the Arctic Circle all  expecting to stake out large claims for resources. China has insisted they not be left out either, as they are keen on using the Arctic waterways for transportation as warming opens new routes.

Russia’s own substantial presence in the Arctic means they’ll be more interested in territorial claims, and undersea resources, than just waterways. This could make trying to combine the two confusing for many, but with the Pentagon already using Russia and China virtually interchangeably in bids for more money to counter them, Ellwood may just be following their lead.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.