REPTILES ON ICE : THE DRAGON INKS A DEAL WITH ICELAND, A NESTING AREA IS ASSURED
|ICELAND (Map From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iceland )|
4/16/2012 How Far Will The Dragon Swim? Reptiles On Ice, The Nesting Zone
Editor's Note 1/3/2015: Colder average temperatures and heavier ice cover for two seasons has slowed the urgency in the Dragon's drive for an ice palace but the deal holds and interest remains as of this writing.
Editors Note: 5/23/2016:
What on Earth is the interest of China in the Arctic since it is a nation without an Arctic Coast? To answer that you have to think back to your early North American history. Why did attention shift north from the early discoveries of Spain? One reason was the search for the hoped for "Northwest Passage", a water route around North America to the riches of the Orient. Well China still has lots of stuff to sell and would certainly like to sell more to well heeled Europeans. A North West Passage would be shorter and cheaper. This may come as a surprise to non maritime professionals but the Chinese shipping company COSCO actually administers the Panama Canal under contract. But despite this nominal control the Dragon ships would generally like to avoid canal dependence. While they may run it American still has the defense treaty, troops in the vicinity and plenty more a short flight away. Chinese ships bound for New Orleans for grain supplies will always want to use the canal, but it is not the preferred way to Europe, at the moment it is one of two practical ways. A third way would be good, the dragon likes choices and a labyrinth to travel in.
The Dragon is also busy building a giant navy and Merchant Marine while the Western World , for 500 years the leader in sea faring, is shrinking its sea power. As the Arctic ice pack shrinks all sorts of opportunities in maritime resource extractive industries will be opening up for nations not afraid to subsidize a merchant marine. But the Dragon lacks a nest near the ice...until now. The free trade agreement with Iceland will give China the ability to establish industrial bases for the exploitation of arctic resources. Meanwhile Canada is still trying to decide what the shape of its Arctic presence will be and the United States so far has paid only lip service to a "strong year round U.S.Coast Guard presence in the Arctic Ocean. In fact this year congress shrunk the Coast Guard budget. So the Reptiles are on ice, they are surviving and showing every intention of staying. Below is a lead in and a link to the full story of the China /Iceland deal from the STAR TRIBUNE:
CHINA AND ICELAND SIGN FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
BEIJING - China and Iceland signed a free trade agreement Monday, offering hope to the small North Atlantic country for its recession-battered economy and giving Beijing a leg up in its drive for expanded influence in the Arctic.
The China-Iceland free trade pact will lower tariffs on a range of goods and is expected to boost seafood and other exports from the remote Nordic state to the world's second-largest economy. It comes at the start of a five-day visit to China by Icelandic Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir that highlights her country's attempts to diversify an economy that was badly mauled by the bursting of a massive financial bubble in 2008.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told Sigurdardottir the agreement was "a major event in China-Iceland relations."
"It also signals the deepening of our relationship, especially our economic relationship which has been lifted to a new height," Li said during talks following a formal welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in the center of Beijing.
Trade between China and the England-sized country of just over 315,000 people rose 21.1 percent last year to $180 million, according to the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Trade. Iceland exports mostly fish to China and imports Chinese products from ships to shoes. Sigurdardottir has been keen to push Icelandic services and the island's geothermal energy potential.
Iceland has unique importance to China as it attempts to gain a foothold in the Arctic, where melting ice is opening passages for shipping and could create a boom in extraction of resources such as gas, oil, diamonds, gold and iron.
China is seeking permanent observer status in the Arctic Council, an eight-nation body that includes Iceland and decides on policy in the region. China is expected to be accepted when a final decision is announced next month, drawing support from the prospect of heavy Chinese investment in the region's mining industries as advertised by its proposal to sink $2.3 billion into Greenland to secure 15 million tons of iron ore per year.