The icebreaker returned home through the Bering Strait from a 83-day rim expedition on the Arctic. At around the same time as the expedition, five Chinese cargo ships also sailed through the newly-discovered sail route near the North Pole. The Tianjian”, one of these ships, meanwhile arrived in Greenland and is en route to St. Petersburg. China is interested to open an arctic road to Europe which would be about 40 percent shorter than the one through the Suez Canal, and has pleaded to Russia for joint efforts to co-develop this new Northern passageway. China is just constructing a second icebreaker, Xuelong 2, which will be capable of breaking through a 20-meter-deep pressure ridge, and which will carry an Italian-made helicopter, the Leonardo AW169.”

CAS news release, September 25, 2017