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China dismisses hysteria over Greenland ventures

Updated: 2013-03-16 07:51
By Zhang Yunbi ( China Daily)

Beijing on Friday dismissed Western media hype over the so-called Chinese investment boom in Greenland, saying public discussion about financial ventures there has "gotten way far ahead of the status quo".

Local media and leading Western news agencies have claimed since February that Greenland's government will enhance limitations on investment from abroad, and reports also labeled a $2.3 billion coal-mine project allegedly funded by Chinese business a major controversy.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters on Friday that no Chinese company has obtained a permit in Greenland.

Greenland has issued 20 permits for oil and gas exploitation to foreign businesses, as well as about 100 permits for mineral mining, the spokeswoman said.

"These days, some media and individuals have engaged in groundless hype about China's 'marching toward Greenland'. The intentions behind this deserve a closer look," Hua warned.

Feng Zhongping, vice-president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said recent speculation stems partly from some Western countries' lack of knowledge about Chinese investments, adding that prejudice is also a major factor.

"In the past, investment from Europe and the US in China has accounted for a considerable portion of the country's investments. But now the trend has changed, and China has started investing overseas - which may be hard for Europe and the US to get accustomed to at first," said Feng, a European studies expert.

The media's overblown attention to China's energy interests in Greenland came up just before Greenlandic opposition party Siumut, headed by Aleqa Hammond, won Tuesday's parliamentary election and became the biggest party in Greenland's parliament. But Hammond will need to form a coalition government that gives her a parliamentary majority.

Reuters has said "some 2,000 Chinese workers could be flown in" for construction of London Mining PLC's $2.3 billion coal-mine project.

However, no such Chinese workers have gone into Greenland, and "currently, there is only one Chinese enterprise with preliminary participation in a Greenland investment program led by a company from a third country," said Hua, the ministry spokeswoman.

Meanwhile, Beijing endorses the opening attitude of the Danish government and the Greenland self-government authority toward foreign enterprises' participation in resources development and cooperation in Greenland, Hua said.

China also supports enterprises from both sides to achieve win-win cooperation, and achieve their growth when bringing benefits to local people, Hua added.

Feng Zhongping, the expert with CICIR, said Chinese firms' investing overseas is an ordinary practice, and some doubts and concerns are within expectations.

Liu Yedan and Xinhua contributed to this story.