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China welcomes Arctic Council's granting of observer status

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-05-15 21:35

BEIJING - Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Wednesday that China appreciates and welcomes the Arctic Council's decision to grant permanent observer status to China.

India, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea (ROK) and Singapore were also granted observer status at the eighth Ministerial Meeting of the Arctic Council, which convened in Kiruna, the northernmost city of Sweden, on Wednesday.

"China has all along supported the purpose and objective of the Arctic Council," Hong said in a written statement.

He said China recognizes the Arctic countries' sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction in the Arctic area, as well as their leading role in the Arctic Council.

China respects the values, interests, culture and tradition of the Arctic aborigines and other inhabitants in the region, he added.

The council's decision will enhance the communication and cooperation between China and relevant parties on Arctic affairs, and it will allow China to make contributions to the council's work and promote peace, stability and sustainable development in the Arctic region, he said.

The Arctic Council, founded about 20 years ago, includes eight countries with territories in the Arctic -- Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States.

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