China’s Arctic Ambitions and What They Mean for Canada

China’s Arctic Ambitions is the first book to address China’s ever increasing interest in the Arctic, and in Canada’s Far North in particular. It offers a holistic approach to the subject – covering resource development, shipping, scientific research, governance, and military strategy – to better understand both Chinese motivations and the potential impacts of a greater Chinese presence in the circumpolar region. The book draws on extensive research into published Chinese government documentation, secondary source analysis, business and media reports, and the existing academic literature.


P. Whitney Lackenbauer, Adam Lajeunesse, James Manicom, and Frédéric Lasserre. China’s Arctic Ambitions and What They Mean for Canada. Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2017.

Praise for China’s Arctic Ambitions and What They Mean for Canada:

Lackenbauer et al. effectively counter the most overheated rhetoric about China’s Arctic interests . . . a solidly researched and thought-provoking volume.

—John McCannon, Pacific Affairs

This book captures the multifaceted nature of the Arctic as scientific and security frontier and recognizes the complex dilemmas this region faces with sovereignty, security, and stewardship.

—Ellen A. Ahlness, American Review of Canadian Studies

Table of Contents


  1. Situating the Arctic in China’s Strategy
  2. The Snow Dragon: China, Polar Science, and the Environment
  3. Sovereignty and Shipping
  4. Arctic Resources and China’s Rising Demand
  5. China and Arctic Governance: Uncertainty and Potential Friction
  6. The Way Ahead


About the Authors:

Whitney Lackenbauer is a professor of History at St. Jerome’s University (University of Waterloo) who specializes in Arctic sovereignty and security issues, Aboriginal-state relations, circumpolar history, and modern Canadian military, diplomatic and political history. He is the editor of the multi-award-winning A Historical and Legal Study of Sovereignty in the Canadian North (UCalgary Press).

Adam Lajeunesse is the Irving Shipbuilding Chair in Arctic Marine Security Policy at St. Francis Xavier University. He is a Research Associate at the Centre for Military, Strategic, and Security Studies and the Arctic Institute of North America at the University of Calgary, and a fellow with the Centre on Foreign Policy and Federalism at the University of Waterloo. Dr. Lajeunesse is a regular lecturer at the NATO Defence College (Rome) and the Canadian Forces College (Toronto), as well as a frequent speaker on northern security issues for academic, government, and military audiences.  He is the author of Lock, Stock and Icebergs (UBC Press) – a history of Canada’s Arctic maritime sovereignty.

Frédéric Lasserre is a professor of Geography at Laval University, Directeur du Centre Québécois d’Études géopolitiques and a research associate at Groupe d’études et de recherche sur l’Asie contemporaine.

James Manicom is a Research Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation. He is the author of Bridging Troubled Waters: China, Japan and Maritime Order in the East China Sea (Georgetown University Press).