In recent years, up to 40% of the central Arctic Ocean has been ice-free in summer. This open water makes access possible for ordinary vessels, including fishing boats. Participation would strengthen China's interest in Arctic affairs in a cooperative fashion, in contrast to a perception that China is interested solely in extracting Arctic resources and is thus a competitor with Arctic states.
German policymakers and researchers are becoming more active in Arctic issues and in so doing are not only creating networks with international actors in the Arctic, but increasingly also building collaborations within the world of German science, politics, and society. In view of the challenges that face the Arctic, it is essential for all actors to intensify their engagement. For ultimately, thanks to the interconnectedness of the global climate system, the changes happening in the Arctic are not limited to the far north; rather, consequences such as alterations in weather patterns have the potential to affect those of us in the middle latitudes as well.