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Beijing aspires to bigger Arctic role

China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-01 06:45

China is willing and able to play a bigger role in Arctic development and cooperation, said Vice-Premier Wang Yang during the Fourth International Arctic Forum, which ended in Arkhangelsk, Russia, on Thursday.

China is an important stakeholder in Arctic affairs, and it has been participating in these affairs for a long time in accordance with laws, said Wang, adding that China upholds the spirit of respect, cooperation and sustainability.

At the two-day event, Wang called on the international community to strengthen environmental protection of the Arctic and continuously deepen scientific exploration of the North Pole.

The vice-premier also called on countries involved with the Arctic to exploit its resources in a lawful and proper manner, to improve Arctic governance and to jointly preserve peace and stability in the region.

China is ready to share insights with other countries and expand cooperation to create a bright, new future for the Arctic, Wang added.

More than 2,000 government officials, business leaders and senior experts gathered at the forum. They came from nearly 30 countries, including the United States, Canada, Finland, Denmark, Norway and Iceland.

On Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang reiterated China's position on Arctic affairs, saying China values cooperation in the Arctic.

President Xi Jinping will make a state visit to Finland next week. Lu said China hopes to see further development in cooperation in Arctic affairs under Finland's chairmanship of the Arctic Council.

In 2013, China became an observer of the council, an intergovernmental forum based in Norway that includes eight Arctic states and focuses on cooperation on Arctic issues.

Ruan Zongze, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, said China has been taking an active and constructive approach to participating in Arctic affairs.

Scientific research in the Arctic is becoming increasingly significant in the sense that it is an important part of climate change research, Ruan said.

"China has been investing ever greater research resources in this regard, and has been cooperating well with countries along the Arctic coast, which hope to see China play a bigger role in Arctic affairs," he said.

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