A lawyer argues with Norway over sale of land to China

A lawyer and the Norwegian authorities disagree on the legality of auctioning off land on the geopolitical important archipelago of Svalbard, as the lawyer announced interest from potential  Chinese buyers.

The Norwegian authorities have earlier announced, that “there is no permission to start negotiations regarding the transfer of the property without the consent of the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fishing”.

But the lawyer Per Kyllingstad said the government’s intervention would be “100% incorrect”. He also mentioned, that he has obtained legal opinion from one of the biggest law firms in Oslo, which is why he will continue the process of the auction.

Per Kyllingstad is in charge of the auctioning of his client’s private land . The private owner is according to local media, a company owned by a Norwegian of Russian descent. The area of 60 square kilometers was put on the market earlier in May for 326 million dollars.

Kyllingstad has previously spoken about interested buyers from China. He said, that buyers are focused on the long-term benefits of the investment, as it might be the only opportunity for a long time, to obtain land in the so-called High Arctic region.

He also confirmed, that the seller is open to selling the land to anyone – including China. The land will be sold to whoever offers the highest amount, according to Per Kyllingstad.

Analysts have allegedly stated, that China is interested in the untapped natural resources in the Arctic, as well as a possible military positioning made even more advantageous by new sea lanes created by melting ice.

At the same time, China has made it very public, that there are no Chinese military goals in the Arctic, and that the military presence of China in the arctic is very minimal. China has only had military engagement in the region in cooperation with Russia. An international treaty gives Svalbard an unusual legal structure, which makes most military activities illegal.

Another important factor for the buying of the land is that the land has been declared as a national park, which means the operation of motorized vehicles may be illegal. Therefore, the use of the land will probably be mostly scientific research.

About Charlotte Nike Albrechtsen

Charlotte Nike Albrechtsen is a journalist working with ScandAsia at the headquarters in Bangkok.

View all posts by Charlotte Nike Albrechtsen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *