Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Cold stronghold

The government of Norway is coming under pressure to stop the sale of land within the Arctic Circle to a Chinese real estate developer. Tycoon Huang Nubo, who attempted unsuccessfully last year to buy land in Iceland,was interested in a large waterfront plot near the northern city of Tromso and now has his eyes on a much bigger and even more northerly property on Spitsbergen, the main island in the Svalbard archipelago. The vehement outcries are about the possibility that China is seeking a permanent foothold in the Arctic, since its geopolitical and economic importance has grown. Global warming has opened new and cheaper shipping routes from Asia and expanded prospects for exploiting the region’s natural resources, which are estimated to include 13% of the world’s undiscovered oil and 30% of its natural gas. Christin Kristoffersen, mayor of Longyearbyen, Svalbard’s administrative center, states, "We should own this island. This is not anti-Chinese, but pro-Norwegian.”


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