Icelandic President Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson told Norwegian broadcaster NRK that relations with China has picked pace after the financial crisis shattered the island’s national economy in 2008.
In an interview with the broadcaster, Grimsson said that the Chinese positions in the cooperation have been “constructive, balanced, positive and definitely not aggressive“. He this month paid his fourth visit to the country and met several of the country’s top leaders.
-When the banks collapsed in Iceland we faced a situation, where there was no positive helping hand coming either from Europe or the United States, and I and the government decided to approach the government of China […] to see if China could show some friendship in these times of difficulties, Grimsson said.
A cornerstone in the cooperation is believed to be shipping opportunities in the Arctic. Iceland is located strategically in Arctic shipping lanes which are opening due to climate change and the subsequently ice melting.
-In my discussions with the leadership of China it is absolutely clear that they are very keen to cooperate with Iceland and the other countries in the Arctic region on what is happening in the Arctic and the northern regions and also of what are the implications of the northern sea routes opening up over the next few decades, the president told NRK.