The authors of the report “China in the Arctic; and the Opportunities and Challenges for Chinese-Finnish Arctic Co-operation” discussed their work in an interview with Kathrin Stephen From “High North News”. Sanna Kopra, one of the authors, talked, among other things, about what she thinks of the China’s role as a climate leader:
After President Trump announced to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement, the world has hoped for China to step up and fulfill the leadership vacuum in international climate politics left by the US. Although President Xi Jinping has responded positively to these expectations and China has strong domestic incentives to take the findings of the recent IPCC report very seriously, it has not demonstrated any kind of climate leadership role in the Arctic. In my view, taking a stronger leadership role in international efforts to tackle climate change would not be a big sacrifice for China. Conversely, such a leadership role would support China’s national interests and alleviate various China threat theories at the global level. When it comes to the Arctic, China’s stronger commitment to tackle climate change would probably improve the state’s image and generate trust amongst the Arctic states. This would, in turn, help China to legitimize its stronger engagement in Arctic regional affairs.
The full interview can be read at the “High North News” website.