Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China Wen Jiabao was on an official visit in Iceland last weekend, described as successful by Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson (pictured).
Össur told Morgunblaðið that he is not concerned that China might try to take advantage of Iceland’s economic situation, referring to declarations made by the Chinese leader during a meeting with his Icelandic counterpart.
“The Chinese declared that they respect the sovereignty of the eight Arctic nations and that they consider the treaty on harbor rights to be a tool to resolve matters of dispute. Icelanders have campaigned actively for the latter issue and I believe that with this declaration there is nothing the Chinese can seize without permission,” Össur said.
Following a bilateral meeting on Friday, Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and Premier of China Wen Jiabao attended the signing of six agreements and declarations in the National Culture Heritage House in Reykjavík.
With the Chinese Premier were Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming, dv.is reports.
Meanwhile, some members of the Falun Gong movement protested peacefully outside, as well as at a few other locations during the visit of the Chinese delegation.
A Framework Agreement was signed between the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Iceland on Arctic Cooperation. The agreement was signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Iceland and the Minister of State Oceanic Administration.
A Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation was signed, in the field of Marine and Polar Science and Technology, also by the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of both countries.
A Memorandum of Understanding on Geothermal and Geosciences Cooperation was signed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iceland, and the Minister of Land and Resources of China.
A Joint Declaration was signed between the Government of Iceland and China National Bluestar Co. Ltd. regarding a solar and silicon project in Iceland. The acting Minister of Industry and the CEO of China National Bluestar Co. Ltd. signed the declaration.
According to Morgunblaðið, China Bluestar, in which the Chinese state holds an 80 percent share, intends to invest approximately USD 1 billion (ISK 127 billion, EUR 760 million) in the planned silicon metal factory at Grundartangi by Hvalfjörður, west Iceland, which is set to create hundreds of jobs.
The company took over Elkem and thus the ferrosilicon plant on Grundartangi last year.
A Memorandum of Understanding on planning consultancy cooperation, between Promote Iceland and China Development Bank Corporation was signed by the CEO of Promote Iceland, and the CEO of China Development Bank.
Finally, an agreement was signed between Orka Energy Ltd. and China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec Group) on utilization of geothermal energy in China for heating of houses and production of electricity, as reported by the Prime Minister’s Office.
The Chinese delegation also went sightseeing, among other destinations to the Golden Circle. However, landowners barred them from seeing Kerið, a volcanic crater lake, due to environmental and political reasons, as stated by Kerið Association spokesperson Óskar Magnússon, who is also Morgunblaðið’s publisher.
Click here to read more about the reaction of Falun Gong movement members to the visit of the Chinese Premier.