TROMSO, Norway, Jan. 21 (Xinhua) -- Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barthe Eide said on Monday that Norway will support China's application for the status of a permanent observer to the Arctic Council.
Eide gave a definite "yes" answer to the question put to him by a Xinhua reporter if Norway would back China's bid for the permanent observer status in the eight-member regional council comprising mostly of countries on the rim of the Arctic Ocean.
"We are supportive to the enlargement of the number of observers and we are now working with other members towards a decision at the coming ministerial meeting in May" on the applications including that from China, Eide said at a press conference held after signing the agreement on setting up the Secretariat of the Arctic Council in Tromso, a northern Norwegian city.
Norway wants to discuss Arctic-related issues with all relevant countries and China is clearly a country to have such dialogue with, said Eide.
"You know, Norway and China are neighbors with only one country between us," added the Norwegian foreign minister.
Besides China, India, South Korea and Singapore have been appplying for the status of permanent observer.
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