China’s trade representation in Norway reports on Svalbard plot up for sale

The website of China’s trade representation in Norway, a subdomain of MOFCOM‘s, relays the news (originally from Norwegian newspaper VG 《世界之路》) that Austre Adventfjord, one of the two privately owned plots in Svalbard, covering over 200 km2 and coal deposits, is being put up for sale by their Norwegian owners. The article adds that China has a right to engage in commercial activities on the islands on an equal footing with the other thirty-nine Svalbard treaty signatories. Among those are Norway, who enjoys sovereignty over the territory, and Russia, the only other state that has so far made use of such rights.

Although nothing so far indicates that any Chinese entity is interested in buying the land, the sole mention of such a possibility by a Norwegian polar expert has already triggered speculation about a Chinese purchase, from Hong Kong to Iceland.

China has had a research station in Svalbard for around a decade: the Yellow River Station (中国北极黄河站), its entrance guarded by two stone lions.