European experts view China's B&R initiative positively

Belt & Road
During the 12th Lennart Meri Conference on foreign and security policy, China's Belt and Road Initiative, was viewed by European experts as being helpful to global development.

XinhuaUpdated: June 4, 2018

During the 12th Lennart Meri Conference on foreign and security policy, China's Belt and Road Initiative, including its Arctic policy, was viewed by European experts as being helpful to global development.

As to China's vision for a "Polar Silk Road," Caroline Kennedy-Pipe, Professor of International Security at Britain's Loughborough University said it is helpful for the development in the Arctic region.

In an interview with Xinhua on Sunday, the British expert on international relations and global security said: "China is hugely important because of its commercial and economic strength, and ambitions to be able to trade more freely with different parts of the globe."

During a panel discussion, Kennedy-Pipe said she doesn't agree that what happens in the Arctic stays in the Arctic, as it is connected with the outside, and "it's not owned by any state or any powers."

Her remarks echoed China's Arctic policy elaborated in an official white paper released on Jan. 26.

The white paper says China would like to "jointly understand, protect, develop and participate in the governance of the Arctic, and advance Arctic-related cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative."

The Polar Silk Road via the Arctic is widely seen as the third arch of the Belt and Road.

Also during the conference on Saturday, responding to a question on Chinese investments in Europe, Lolita Cigane, chairperson of the European Affairs Committee at Latvian parliament, said that Latvia is "an active participant" of the Belt and Road Initiative.

"We do not see any dangers with the Chinese investments, and our cooperation is transparent," she noted.

The three-day conference is organized by the International Center for Defence and Security, a Tallinn-based think tank, in cooperation with Lennart Meri European Foundation.

Named after late Lennart Meri, who served as Estonian president from in 1992-2001, the conference discussed topics such as Russia and the West, European defense, and issues related to NATO, the Arctic, Baltic defense and the European Union, among others.