By Mei Manuel
March 19, 2018 05:03 AM
On Saturday, state news agency Xinhua reported that China is now building the country's first polar expedition cruise ship as part of its efforts to expand its shipping lanes to undiscovered areas opened by global warming and under the Belt and Road initiative in the Arctic region.
According to Xinhua, the 104.4 meter vessel will be equipped with the latest electric propulsion and control system that would permit it to travel through sea ice. It is also expected to be finished by August 2019.
The "Polar Silk Road" initiative was first introduced in a policy white paper in January. Under the initiative, companies are encouraged to build the necessary infrastructure and conduct voyages in these new routes to create the "Polar Silk Road."
President Xi Jinping introduced the Belt and Road initative as a means to improve connections between China and Europe, as well as the Middle East with the assistance of large infrastructure projects