Russia and China Discussed Further Arctic Cooperation – Also Within the Arctic Council

Kinas spesialutsending til Arktis, Gao Feng (t.v.), hadde nylig møte med Russlands ambassadør for Arktis, Nikolaj Korchunov. (Foto: Arctic Circle; Vyacheslav Viktorov/Roscongress)

The realization of Russian-Chinese joint projects in the Arctic was recently discussed by the countries' Arctic diplomats. Energy, science, transport, and infrastructure were central topics, as well as the prospects for further cooperation within the Arctic Council.

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Last week, a routine round of Russian-Chinese consultations on Arctic matters was held, according to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Russia's Arctic Ambassador, Nikolay Korchunov, and China's Special Representative for Arctic Affairs, Gao Feng, were at the forefront of the dialogue. Representatives of interested parties in the two countries, both public bodies and other organizations, also participated.

"A constructive and substantial exchange of views took place regarding various approaches for further interaction in the Arctic under new geopolitical conditions – in the spirit of a comprehensive strategic partnership," writes the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and continues:

"The parties discussed in detail the implementation of joint projects at high latitudes, especially in energy, investment, science, and transport, including the development and use of infrastructure along the Northern Sea Route – as well as prospects for further interaction within the framework of the key intergovernmental forum in the Arctic, the Arctic Council."

New activity in the Arctic Council

Recently, it was made known that all the Arctic countries agree on new guidelines that allow the Arctic Council's working groups to resume their activities. Among other things, this means that they can revitalize their interaction with observers in the council, such as China.

Climate change monitoring and the conservation of flora and fauna in the Arctic are promising fields for joint Russian-Chinese research, said Russia's ambassador to China, Igor Morgulov, to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti in February.

He noted that such research could both occur within the Arctic Council's working groups – and at the planned international Arctic science station Snezhinka in the Russian Far East.

A recent overview by High North News shows that Moscow wants "effective work in the Arctic Council" – while concurrently constantly opening new doors for cooperation in the Arctic with several non-Arctic states, especially China.

Interaction must be strengthened

Now Moscow and Beijing also agree that bilateral cooperation on Arctic issues should be further strengthened – and that the next round of consultations on this topic will take place in China next year, reports the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the above-mentioned meeting.

The ministry also notes that the parties expressed "mutual interest in preserving the Arctic as a territory of peace, stability, and mutually beneficial cooperation to ensure its sustainable and safe development."

Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also spoke about the interaction with China – at the new Russian-Chinese forum Rostki, held in Kazan, Russia.

"Russian-Chinese relations with comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction have reached an unprecedented high level. Based on our overlapping or close approaches to key contemporary issues, we maintain close coordination in foreign policy and conduct effective cooperation within multilateral organizations and forums. Overall, we advocate for the creation of a just, sustainable, and multipolar world order," Lavrov said.

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