Chinese PM wraps up Iceland visit

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao wrapped up a visit to Iceland on Saturday, the first stage in a four-nation European tour, after concluding an accord on cooperation in the oil-rich Arctic region.

A geologist by training, Wen visited the Hellisheidarvirkjun geothermal plant on a volcanic ridge near Reykjavik on Saturday, accompanied by Icelandic Foreign Minister Ossur Skarphedinsson.

China and Iceland have a partnership, through the Orka Energy and Sinopec companies, to develop geothermal energy in China.

The premier voiced "strong support" for moves to develop geothermal energy in his own country. A day earlier, both countries signed a cooperation deal on the geothermal cooperation, as part of a package of six agreements.

Another agreement covered cooperation in the oil-rich Arctic region.

The talks, during what is the first visit by a Chinese premier to Iceland, also yielded accords covering cooperation in marine and polar science and technology and solar energy.

The Chinese leader earlier thanked Iceland President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson for backing his country's request for permanent observer status on the Arctic Council, an eight-country inter-governmental forum.

China currently has simple observer status on the council grouping Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Canada and the United States.

His European tour will also take him to Sweden, Poland and Germany.

Skarphedinsson told reporters Friday that Reykavik had always considered China a "clear" candidate for permanent observer status on the council.

But Grimsson and Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir also said they raised the question of human rights in China with Wen.

The president praised Wen's "reform initiatives" and said he "encouraged cooperation and dialogue" on human rights between Chinese and Islandic intellectuals and organisations.

Wen replied that "the Chinese authorities wanted to support such cooperation and such a dialogue on human rights with the Islandic people," the presidency statement said.

Hundreds of people attended two demonstrations in Reykjavik on Friday to protest Chinese repression in Tibet and Beijing's crackdown on the Falungong spiritual movement.

In an interview Saturday with state radio, Sigurdardottir said: "I told (Wen) of the importance of human rights issues to the Islandic people. I also told him how I viewed human rights in China."

She added, without elaborating: "He's a reformer. We know it, and I wasn't disappointed by his response."

The prime minister said Wen had been "open and positive" in response to the idea that Iceland could help China in the area of gender equality.

Earlier Saturday, Wen toured the Thingvellir national park and saw the Gullfoss falls and the geyser of Geysir -- the origin of the word.

China's interest in Iceland came to the fore last year when a Chinese property tycoon tried to buy a large swathe of land in the north of the country for a tourism project.

Some observers suggested that property magnate Huang Nubo's purchase would help China win a foothold in the Arctic amid general concern over Chinese investment in Europe.

That deal was eventually blocked by the Icelandic government, after officials said China had mooted using the island as a trans-Arctic shipping port.

Retreating ice has opened up the potential for a shorter cargo shipping route with Asia, which would cut the sea voyage between Shanghai and northern Europe by some 6,400 kilometres (4,000 miles).

Wen is set to leave Iceland on Sunday for Germany where he will attend the Hanover Messe, the world's biggest industrial fair, with Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February
    ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February

    Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) sustains its strong sales in its February performance. Toyota’s strong performance last month was due to the  high demand of the Vios, with sales of 2,012 units and of course the rest of Toyota’s line up such as the Fortuner, Innova, Wigo, Hilux, Avanza and Corolla Altis. Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus, recorded 60 units last month. …

  • No apology, but Noy seeks understanding
    No apology, but Noy seeks understanding

    There was no apology, but President Aquino yesterday expressed regret, took “full responsibility” and appealed to the nation for “deepest understanding” for the Jan. 25 Mamasapano raid in which dozens died, including 44 police Special Action Force (SAF) commandos. “To every Filipino who has felt failure or has been hurt because of the events related to this operation, it is with abiding humility that I ask for your deepest understanding,” Aquino said in a speech before the 246 new graduates of …

  • MVP on endorsement: Thanks, I’m no politician
    MVP on endorsement: Thanks, I’m no politician

    Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan is grateful for Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s praise and presidential endorsement, but says he is not a politician. In an interview on the sidelines of the launch of the search for The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines 2015 Wednesday night, Pangilinan dismissed the idea of running for president in the 2016 elections. “I’m not a politician, I’m just an ordinary business person,” he added. Santiago endorsed Pangilinan as a presidential candidate …

  • No Lenten break in operations vs lawless groups – AFP
    No Lenten break in operations vs lawless groups – AFP

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is not suspending its offensive against the Abu Sayyaf, New People’s Army (NPA) and other lawless groups during the Holy Week, an official said yesterday. Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, AFP public affairs office chief, said the AFP leadership is leaving it up to area and division commanders whether to raise the alert status in preparation for the Holy Week. Those deployed in areas where there are ongoing law enforcement operations against terrorist groups …

  • Probe harassment vs human rights lawyer, CA orders AFP
    Probe harassment vs human rights lawyer, CA orders AFP

    The Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to investigate a human rights lawyer’s claim of harassment, including surveillance, by several military officers. In a 22-page decision, the former Special Sixth Division of the appellate court granted the petition for writ of amparo and habeas data of Maria Catherine Dannug-Salucon. The CA ordered the AFP to identify the officers behind the surveillance and file charges against them. The CA ruling said …

  • Noy vows to dismantle bata-bata system in PNP
    Noy vows to dismantle bata-bata system in PNP

    President Aquino vowed yesterday to dismantle the culture of factionalism or the bata-bata system within the Philippine National Police as he continued the search for the next PNP chief. Speaking at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) commencement exercises here, the President said the country needed solidarity among leaders and members of the police force so that the policemen would be effective protectors of Filipinos. “Our challenge to the next chief of our national police force: …

  • Envoy to expats: Retire, invest in Phl
    Envoy to expats: Retire, invest in Phl

    Retire and invest in real estate in the Philippines, especially now that the country has made it to the top 10 retirement destinations in the world. This is the message being spread by the Philippine embassy in Washington, with Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. leading the refrain in meetings with various Filipino-American communities in the US. In his talks, Cuisia said that an affordable cost of living as well as warm climate and people are just some of the things that make the Philippines a top …

  • PNPA spotlight falls on Ampatuan grandson
    PNPA spotlight falls on Ampatuan grandson

    The stigma of being a namesake of the principal suspect in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre did not prevent Cadet First Class Andal Ampatuan III from entering and graduating from the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA). Ampatuan III, now with a rank of police inspector, is a grandson of former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. The younger Ampatuan was among the 246 graduates of the PNPA “Lakandula” Class of 2015. Ampatuan III’s mother is Bai Rebecca Ampatuan, a daughter of the …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options