A nuclear icebreaker will further enhance China's ability to navigate the Arctic Ocean even during winter. With a displacement of more than 30,000 tons the proposed vessel will be just slightly smaller than Russia's newest and largest icebreakers of the Arktika class.
China's plans to build a nuclear icebreaker are just the latest step in its efforts to pursue a more active role in the Arctic. The country released its first-ever Arctic policy in early 2018 followed by the launch of its second conventional icebreaker in September. About two dozen Chinese vessels transited Russia's Northern Sea Route in the last five years, more than any other country except Russia. It is also a large investor in Novatek's Yamal LNG, a major natural gas project.