Recently CNN.co.jp reported the following:
2020.06.18 Thu posted at 15:15 JST
Moscow (CNN) By the 18th, it was disclosed that Russian authorities had prosecuted a leading Arctic researcher in the country for passing confidential information to China. In Russia, one after another, researchers were being investigated by security agencies for alleged contact with foreign countries.
Being indicted was Valerie Mitco, 78, president of the Arctic Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg. According to defense attorney Ivan Pavlov, the defendant was accused of handing a document containing state secrets to a Chinese intelligence agency at the Dalian Maritime University in China where he was a visiting professor in the first half of 2018.
It was said that the document in question dealt with underwater acoustics. This was an academic study of underwater sound conditions, often applicable to underwater navigation, communications, and submarine surveillance.
Mitco the accused claimed innocence. The defense lawyer purported that the information the defendant brought into China from Russia was for the purpose of giving lectures which was all publicly available. Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Russian Federal Security Service declined to comment.
While Mitco had been charged with national treason and put under house arrest since February this year, Pavlov's team in charge of matters related to national security had taken on defense, with the purpose of raising public opinion and now the details came to light.
Among Sino-Russian experts, there was a view point saying that the charging of Arctic researchers on espionage highlighted the beginning of competitions between the two countries in the Arctic.
In Russia, researchers had recently been prosecuted and convicted of passing state secrets to foreign governments. According to the state-run Tass news agency, in 2018, aerospace a technician was charged with sharing a report containing information on hypersonic weapons with a Belgian organization.
It is natural that every country has it own spying organization. While I do not think China has a role to play in the Arctic, yet China’s interested in the north pole is obvious. According to a Yahoo news reported on 12th October 2019 which was covered by my blog on 12 November 2019, China had expressed its interest in the usage of the north pole. The article was entitled “Melting Ice Redraws the World Map and Starts a Power Struggle”. According to this article the melting ice is an opening to access new energy resources faster than predicted, thus prompting a struggle among the great powers in the Arctic. The political and economic map of the world could be changed because of this new Arctic passage.