China granted permanent observer status at Arctic Council

The nature of the Council’s reservations were not disclosed.

But Canada, which took over the Arctic Council chairmanship on Wednesday, is
known to be at loggerheads with the EU over a European ban on products
derived from the seal hunt, which the EU says is conducted using inhumane

Permanent observers have no voting rights in the Council, but unlike ad hoc
observers they are automatically invited to the group’s meetings.

“It signals openness, and it reflects the fact that many countries
outside the Arctic area also have legitimate interests in the development of
the region,” Danish Foreign Minister Villy Soevndal said.

Rising temperatures have boosted international interest in the polar region,
as melting ice causes transport routes to open up and makes hitherto
inaccessible mineral resources easier to exploit.

The Arctic is believed to hold some 90 billion barrels of oil and 30 per cent
of the world’s yet-to-be discovered natural gas resources.

has opened an Arctic research centre in Norway’s far north Svalbard region,
and in mid-2012 the first Chinese ice breaker travelled from the Pacific to
the Atlantic via the Arctic along the Russian coast, a 40 per cent shorter
route to Europe.

“China values the scientific research and environmental protection (work)
of the Arctic Council,” foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in
Beijing, before the council announced taking on China as a permanent

Bildt said yet more countries were lining up to apply for observer status,
including Turkey and Mongolia.

The Arctic Council is composed of Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway,
Russia, Sweden and the United States. A total of 13 countries now hold
observer status, after Wednesday’s decision.

Meanwhile, Greenland boycotted Wednesday’s meeting after Sweden refused to
accept its representatives on an equal footing with other members, its prime
minister said.

Edited by Chris Irvine,

Source Article from

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress | Designed by: Premium WordPress Themes | Thanks to Themes Gallery, Bromoney and Wordpress Themes