Special Envoy to the Arctic for China, Feng Gao, says China will not support Norway's chairmanship of the Arctic Council if Russia is still banned.
There are legal disputes over Norway’s upcoming chairmanship to the Arctic Council next year. Without consensus from all 8 members of the council, it is questioned whether Norway can assume the chairmanship at all in May 2023.
On the Arctic Circle Assembly stage in Reykjavik Saturday night, Special Envoy to the Arctic for China, Feng Gao, took a stand on behalf of China;
“The Arctic Council is based on a declaration and there is no procedure for leaving the council. I doubt that the chairmanship can be transferred to anyone or that Norway can take over the chair without Russia from a legal point of view,” says Gao.
He says that the Arctic Council will still be there, but as a different institution if it still consists of the Arctic 7 by then, and is not supported by China.
When questioned whether China will still show up as an observer state to the council if Russia is still banned from the council, the Foreign Minister says that there is no solution to this question right now;
“We have to work on this question and there is no solution to this right now."