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China will encourage ships flying its flag to take the Northwest Passage via the Arctic Ocean, a route opened up by global warming, to cut travel times between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, a state-run newspaper said on Wednesday.China's Maritime Safety Administration this month released a 356-page guide in Chinese offering detailed route guidance from the northern coast of North America to the northern Pacific, the China Daily said.Asked if China considered the Northwest Passage an international waterway or Canadian waters, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China had noted that Canada considered it to cross its waters, although some countries believed it was open to international navigation.The route would also be strategically important to China, another maritime official, Wu Yuxiao, told the China Daily.
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