Zhang Pei
Assistant Research Fellow
Center for Marine & Polar Studies Deputy Director
Institute for Foreign Policy Studies
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Apr 20 2021
“Polar Silk Road”and China-Nordic Cooperation
By Zhang Pei,Yang Jian, Egill Thor Nielsson
PSR   China   Nordic   Cooperation  

China’s Belt and Road initiative (BRI) is not only an in-depth observation and thinking of Chinese leaders on the world situation, but also a global public good. BRI has remained an open and inclusive project since it was first unveiled by President Xi Jinping in 2013. The “Polar Silk Road” should become a natural extension and integral part of BRI as an increasingly accessible Arctic is undergoing major geographical, political, and economic changes, and at the same time opening up new possibilities for closer cooperation between China and the Nordics. Given their distinctive political institutions, substantial agenda-setting capabilities, advantageous geographical location, and growing influence in global governance, especially in Arctic affairs, Nordic countries are increasingly viewed as China’s natural partners in the joint effort to build a “Polar Silk Road”. Economic potential and strategic importance of closer China-Nordic cooperation in the Arctic will grow in the coming years. To advance its coordination with Nordic countries, China must adhere to the principle of “unity in diversity, and diversity in unity,” i.e., promoting communication and cooperation with the Nordics as a whole and at the same time, studying national development strategies of individual Nordic countries. Sufficient attention should be paid to the various stakeholders’ response and feedback to the “Polar Silk Road” initiative, for example, the government, academia, business community, mass media, and the public, so as to promote greater transparency and set high standards for the joint project. Moreover, efforts should be made to foster a favorable social environment for the project and achieve win-win results by advancing the project based on reciprocity, mutual trust and respect through wide consultation, joint effort, and benefit sharing.

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