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President Hu Jintao

Arctic Council Considers China's Bid to Observe Meeting

The Arctic Council, a once-obscure regional forum that had little to show for itself, has nations queuing to participate at a meeting this week in Sweden, as melting ice makes shipping, tourism and resource extraction a reality in the nebulously delineated region.Among the 14 countries and organizations seeking so-called observer status at the meeting in Kiruna, northern Sweden, will be China, whose increased interest in the Arctic underscores the region's re-emergence as an area of potential geopolitical intrigue.The council's eight permanent members--the U.S., Canada, Russia and five Nordic nations--must agree to admit the new members. The Nordic nations, which have been courted aggressively by China, say they will. Canada has expressed reservations. It is unclear whether the U.S., which is sending Secretary of State John Kerry to the meeting, and Russia will agree, as they wake up to the increased economic, and perhaps military, potential of the vast stretches of Arctic territory wi...

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