The Arctic Council, an international body that sets Arctic policy, voted on Wednesday to grant observer seats to China and India, Reuters reported. The seat will give China the ability to attend meetings and to propose and finance policies. China sought the seat as part of its increasing involvement in the Arctic. The country is one of the largest mining investors in Greenland and entered into a free trade agreement with Iceland last month. More shipping lanes have opened as Arctic ice melts, and a Chinese shipping company is planning to use an Arctic shortcut for the first time in 2013 to ship to the US and Europe.