Roundtable discussion on “China’s Global Governance and Its Polar Dimension”

In cooperation with the School of Economics of Renmin University of China, Confucius Institute at the University of Helsinki held a roundtable discussion on “China’s Global Governance and Its Polar Dimension” on Monday 16 April, 2018.

The event attracted practitioners, scholars and postgraduate students in Finland to jointly explore China’s current role in global governance as well as its ambition to actively engage in arctic policy and polar governance. In the welcoming talk, Finnish Director of Confucius Institute Prof. Julie Yu-Wen Chen noted that Renmin University of China has just published a new book on Economic Development of Arctic Region, which is China’s attempt to understand Artic countries.

Prof. Shi Minjun, one of the leading authors of this book talked about the Chinese government’s interest in participatory governance of the Arctic region. He emphasized the importance for China to understand the local Arctic region’s culture and value so that meaningful cooperation can be established.

Prof. Cheng Daiwei of Renmin University further talked about the next step of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and suggested the necessity to set up principles and values so that it can contribute more to China’s participation in global trade governance.

Among the discussants, Arto Haapea from Finnish Ministry of foreign Affairs commented on the importance of handling Arctic affairs based on international law.

Mika Aaltola from Finnish Institute of International Affairs argued that China might face challenges as Arctic countries wish to emphasize the re-territorialization of shipping routes.

Marcin Kaczmarski from the Finnish the Institute of International Affairs further posed question about the feasibility of the Polar Silk Road which he believed needs to be carefully assessed.

Sanna Kopra from Alexander Institute at the University of Helsinki wished to hear more about the ethical aspects of China’s engagement in Arctic issues and general trade governance in the world.

China’s interest in active global governance is not always well-understood outside of China. This event allowed the exchanges of views between Chinese and Nordic elites on the substances and values of China’s global interests.