Støre balances trade against Chinese human rights / News / The Foreigner

Støre balances trade against Chinese human rights. Norway’s Labour (Ap) Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre has been in Beijing to discuss further cooperation with China in the Arctic region, but admits the country’s human rights record poses a dilemma. “The Arctic receives increasing attention from many states – for ecological, economic and geopolitical reasons. Developments in the Arctic have global effects. Global actors have legitimate interests in the region and can make a valuable contribution. China is becoming a key player also in issues related to the Arctic,” Støre said in his speech at the China Institute of International Studies yesterday. China has developed its agenda in the Arctic region for several years now by building up one of the strongest polar scientific research capabilities, and cooperates with Norway.

jonas, gahr, stoere, ministry, foreign, affairs, china, beijing, arctic, barents, sea, ocean, institute, international, studies



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Støre balances trade against Chinese human rights

Published on Tuesday, 31st August, 2010 at 14:17 under the news category, by Ramona Tancau and Michael Sandelson   .

Norway’s Labour (Ap) Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre has been in Beijing to discuss further cooperation with China in the Arctic region, but admits the country’s human rights record poses a dilemma.

Jonas Gahr Støre
Jonas Gahr Støre
Photo: Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Flickr


Possibilities

“The Arctic receives increasing attention from many states – for ecological, economic and geopolitical reasons. Developments in the Arctic have global effects. Global actors have legitimate interests in the region and can make a valuable contribution. China is becoming a key player also in issues related to the Arctic,” Støre said in his speech at the China Institute of International Studies yesterday.

China has developed its agenda in the Arctic region for several years now by building up one of the strongest polar scientific research capabilities, and cooperates with Norway.

Støre also talked about developing trade with China. The two countries share a border with Russia, and the region could account for more than 20 percent of the world’s undiscovered petroleum reserves.

“Much of these undiscovered resources are likely to be in the form of natural gas and to be found mainly in the West Siberian Basin and East Barents Basin,” he said.

Norway recently agreed a compromise with Russia about dividing the Barents Sea area and the Arctic Ocean.

“The Arctic is not where the consequences of climate change will be most severely felt, but the melting ice in the Arctic Ocean is also making resources more accessible and opening up new transport routes,” said Støre

Economic pollution?

Environmental groups are concerned about Chinese involvement in the area, especially given the amount of annual pollution emitted by China.

Their only reassurance is that China is not yet a member of the Arctic Council, which is responsible for making the region’s policies.

But China has now applied to obtain observer status on the Council. Støre says Norway supports this.

“They look upon the Arctic Ocean as an important transport route between Europe and Asia. This is a new dimension that shows the growing importance of the Arctic,” he told Klassekampen yesterday.

Linda Jacobson of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) told Greenfudge, a non-profit, privately-funded organization that writes about environmental issues, that up to now, “China has adopted a wait-and-see approach to Arctic developments, wary that active overtures would cause alarm in other countries due to China’s size and status as a rising global power”.

With Asian trade vessels going to Europe through the Suez Channel, a trade route through the Arctic Ocean would be 40 percent shorter and significantly more cost-effective, according to Greenfudge.

Dilemma

Meanwhile, Amnesty International has informed Støre that China is still breaching human rights.

Støre told Klassekampen he’d be taking this up with their government whilst in Beijing.

“[…] we believe that the regime's opinion control and limitation of organizational and religious freedom is contrary to universal rights. We must reject that social development andfighting povertyjustify abuse of power and violating human rights.

He acknowledged this puts Norway in a quandary when it comes to possible trade deals.

“It depends on how one raises the issue. It's a dilemmato negotiatethese types of agreements with countries with such inadequate labor rights. But I do not think we contribute to the advancement of Chinese rights by Norway being absent from the Chinese market.” 




Published on Tuesday, 31st August, 2010 at 14:17 under the news category, by Ramona Tancau and Michael Sandelson   .

This post has the following tags: jonas, gahr, stoere, ministry, foreign, affairs, china, beijing, arctic, barents, sea, ocean, institute, international, studies.





  
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