China’s first domestically-built polar research vessel and icebreaker “Xuelong 2” launched in Shanghai

China's first domestically-built polar research vessel and icebreaker "Xuelong 2" launched in Shanghai

China unveiled on Monday (10 Sept, 2018) its first icebreaker ship. Named ‘Xuelong 2’, it has been built domestically. Arctic Today reports that the Xue Long 2 icebreaker joins a fleet that currently consists of one other ship, a former Soviet vessel built in Ukraine.

China's first domestically-built polar research vessel and icebreaker "Xuelong 2" launched in Shanghai 1

As the arctic belt ice has been melting, there has been a frenzied interest in icebreaking ships has grown so that countries can steer shipping and research vessels through the ice, albeit with a little muscle.

China's first domestically-built polar research vessel and icebreaker "Xuelong 2" launched in Shanghai 2

The Xue Long 2 is also the latest physical evidence of China’s vision for a “Polar Silk Road,” which is part of the country’s larger Belt and Road Initiative, a multi-trillion-dollar project to integrate China with the rest of the world through trade infrastructure investments. Although the scope of the Belt and Road Initiative is hard to gauge, the project has stalled in recent months.

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