Arctic Frontiers in Tromsø is an important arena for Norwegian-Chinese approaches. Foreign Minister, Børge Brende, thinks that the conference can be the start of an important step toward normalizing relations between China and Norway.
‘I am very pleased that China now participates fully in Arctic Frontiers. This is the beginning of something we will see more of in the future, a recess of cooperation with China relating to Arctic issues, energy, climate change and peace and reconciliation’, said Brende to the news channel NTB.
He sees great potential in cooperation with China, as well noting that in the difficult period after the Nobel Peace Prize award of 2010, China had signed on as a major player in the Arctic.
The Chinese had built icebreakers, and had established a permanent research station in Ny-Alesund, as well as planning to buy private properties in Svalbard.
‘There are great possibilities, and we are following this very closely now. This is the beginning of a closer cooperation not only on the subject of the Arctic, but also the climate, energy and there is a growing interest from Chinese industry. This is good for Norwegian jobs’, said Brende.
Nordområdekonferansen Arctic Frontiers have never before had so many Chinese delegates as this year. The list of the 22 Chinese delegates includes China’s Arctic Ambassador, Gao Feng, and the head of the European department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Liu Yu.
After NTB broke the story, the interest among Chinese and international media was so great that it was a challenge for organizers to arrange hotels in Tromsø, as January is experiencing a peak season for the record-breaking Northern Lights, and whale watching tours. Tourism in Tromsø has experienced a 40% increase in influx during the past year.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today