Norway is scheduled to take over the chairship in the Arctic Council on May 11. The country aims to preserve the Arctic Council as the most important international body for cooperation on Arctic issues. From a Norwegian perspective, this implies the involvement of Russia. Norway has proposed cooperation with Russian researchers, primarily on climate and environmental data.
“Promoting international cooperation in the Arctic is the way to go. Geopolitical competition and confrontation should not hinder international cooperation in the region. China is paying close attention to Norway taking over the chair of the Arctic Council. China appreciates Norwegian promises to stay in contact and cooperate with all the Arctic parties,” says Pan Zejun, Minister Counsellor at the Chinese Embassy in Norway.
“We hope that Norway can efficiently restore the council’s functions and cooperation between all parties. China is willing to play a constructive role in this,” he adds.
The Minister Counsellor implies that China, which has “good contact with Russia”, can support Norway as the council’s upcoming chair in the work to coordinate all the Arctic nations.
China and Russia cooperate on oil and gas extraction in the Russian Arctic and on the development of the Northern Sea Route – as part of China’s “Polar Silk Road” along the Northeast Passage. Due to this, China has not condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and is not participating in the sanctions against Moscow. In February, China presented a suggestion for a peace settlement in Ukraine which contained different elements. China is developing the “Polar Silk Road” through the Russian Arctic with the aim of trading with Europe, which is why a divided Arctic would limit the economic basis for this shipping corridor.