The semi-annually meeting of the Artic Council saw China and five other countries obtain observer status in the council.
The vote was taken by the five Nordic states, US, Canada and Russia who all agreed to grant the special status to China, Japan, South Korea, India, Singapore and Italy.
The meeting took place in Kiruna, Sweden Wednesday 15th of May. This is the first time Asian countries have been granted observer status in the council that determines the future of policy in the northern polar region.
The Artic council is likely to become increasingly important in the coming years as the region is believed to be rich in natural resources and the thawing ice in the area opens up a new waterway to commercial shipping traffic.
Source: Financial Times