China says it wants merchant ships to use this alternative route that has been opened up by climate change.
Global warming may be the reason behind rising sea levels, extreme weather conditions and the deaths of Arctic animals.
But while the environment suffers, the shipping industry has seen a massive new opportunity.
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The melting ice is opening up a new trade route through the Arctic Ocean, which China and other countries are planning to benefit from.
The newly navigable Northwest Passage connects the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic, and shipping industry leaders in China say the route shortens the journey by 30 percent.
But what claim does China and others have on this region?
Presenter: Sami Zeidan
Kamrul Hossain – Professor of International Law at the University of Lapland’s Arctic Center.
Fred Weir – Russia Correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor.
Victor Gao – Director of the China National Association of International Studies.