Greenland ‘open to China interest’

Greenland’s Premier Kuupik Kleist has said that he sees a future of co-operation with China, including possible membership to the Arctic Council.

Talking to Xinhua this week, Kleist said he expects Chinese investment in the potentially-vast reserves of oil and gas under Greenland’s quickly-diminishing ice sheet will play a big part in the future of both countries.

“I think that China together with other nations is taking a huge interest in the Arctic area in general and specifically in Greenland, and we have seen quite a number of visitors from China over the last couple of years,” Kleist said. “We don’t really have that much co-operation for the time being, but I know that Chinese companies are showing an interest in Greenland.”

He went on to say that any such negotiations are likely to benefit both sides. “Greenland is also showing an interest in China: my minister for minerals (and industry) and labour is going to China today on an official visit. I would see a future co-operation as a very positive one and we welcome the Chinese interest,” he said.

Since gaining self-rule from Denmark in 2009, Greenland is free to invite foreign investors to discuss the prospects of the Arctic. UK-based oil company Cairn Energy has already drilled several wells off the cost of Greenland in the hope of tapping into what is thought to be 10 percent of the world’s unproven oil reserves and 30 percent of its gas reserves.

“We are a society in transition in many ways, and at a high speed,” Kleist told Xinhua. “Our place on the global stage is changing fast, partly due to climate change and partly owing to the international companies interested in Greenland’s minerals.”

He added, however, that they are also looking to form partnerships away from oil and gas. “We would like to see economic co-operation in other areas. Green growth, for instance, is a very actual and timely issue, and Greenland of course wants to participate in the development of green technology and we want to see green growth in Greenland itself,” Kleist said.

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