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China seeking to expand role in Arctic
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) April 16, 2012

China will seek a larger role in the Arctic region during an upcoming visit by Premier Wen Jiabao to Iceland and Sweden and wants observer status in the Arctic Council, a senior official said Monday.

Wen will visit the two nations during a four-country visit to Europe from April 20-27 that will also take the premier to Germany and Poland, Vice Foreign Minister Song Tao told journalists.

"We hope to work together with relevant countries, including Iceland and Sweden, to contribute to peace, stability and sustainable development in the Arctic," Song said.

China already has the backing of Sweden to join the Arctic Council as an observer nation, he said.

While in Iceland, Wen will explore ways to expand bilateral ties, including cooperation on geo-thermal energy and research into the northern lights, Song said.

During his visit to Sweden, Wen is also expected to oversee the signing of an agreement to establish a Swedish industrial park on sustainable development, he said.

The Arctic Council is an intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation among eight Arctic States, particularly on sustainable development and environmental protection.

China is reportedly eager to expand its role in the arctic as the ice sheet melts there due to global warming, making it increasingly possible for ocean-going ships to navigate the resource rich region.

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Canada, Denmark could split tiny Arctic island
Ottawa (AFP) April 11, 2012
Canada and Denmark are close to settling a decades-old territorial dispute over a tiny island in the Arctic, a Canadian newspaper said Wednesday. Negotiators have put forth a proposal to split down the middle Hans Island, a barren rock of 1.3 square kilometers (0.5 square miles) that sits between Ellesmere Island and Greenland, the National Post reported. The plan, which has yet to be ap ... read more

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