Norway welcomes China to the Arctic

China can make a valuable contribution in the Arctic region, Norway’s Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said in a speech at the China Institute of International of International Studies Forum in Beijing this week.


- The Arctic merits are receiving increasing attention from many states for ecological, economical and geopolitical reasons. The area has raised a number of issues of global interest, and advanced research. Global actors such as China could make a valuable contribution in the region, Støre said in his Beijing speech.

China’s icebreaker “Zuelong” (Snow Dragon) is currently sailing in the Arctic in what is so far China’s longest scientific expedition in the north, Beijing Review reports.

Foreign Minister Støre has earlier said China should be welcomed as observer to the Arctic Council.

Next week the first ever shipment of iron-ore from Norway to China via the Northern Sea Route will take place. The bulk carrier “MV Nordic Barents” will sail from Kirkenes in Northern Norway loaded with 41,000 tons of iron ore concentrate towards China via the Arctic.

Read alsoBulk from Kirkenes to China via the Arctic

As the ice melts due to global warming, it is expected that more and more of the shipping between Europe and China could sail the Arctic route. By sailing over the top of the world, the vessels save time and money since the route is much shorter than the traditional shipping lanes through the Suez channel or around Africa.

Read alsoChina wants Nordic railway link

Shipping, research and access to the natural resources is the main reasons for China’s increased interests in the Arctic. In 2004, China opened its first arctic scientific research station in Ny-Ålesund on Norway’s Svalbard Archipelago.

- Norway has observed China’s technological interest and capability in the Arctic. We will like to see how Norwegian and Chinese research groups on the environment come together in highly complementary areas of interest and go deeper, in areas ranging from natural science to geopolitics, Støre said underlining that it is important for Norway to engage with China in dialogue about all issues relevant in the region.

Read Jonas Gahr Støre’s Beijing speech at the web-poral of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.