HELSINKI — As China’s top legislative and advisory bodies are holding their annual meetings, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said he believes the two sessions and the decisions to be made are of global significance.
Among other items on the agenda, the two sessions are to amend China’s constitution, pass new laws, deliberate a plan on the reform of state institutions, and decide a new state leadership.
“Those are very important meetings and very important decisions are being made there,” said Niinisto in a recent interview with Xinhua, adding that those decisions will be of great significance for the whole world.
He highlighted the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Beijing’s first white paper on Arctic-related cooperation.
China first proposed the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, which advocates better economic connectivity, political coordination and cultural exchanges among different continents and regions. Beijing further envisioned a Polar Silk Road in a document released earlier this year.
Finland is the current chair of the Arctic Council. Niinisto noted that China’s first white paper on Arctic policy is in line with the international law and the proposal to build a Polar Silk Road will promote understanding among relevant parties.
The Chinese policy document, released on Jan 26, “respects international law, especially the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea,” Niinisto said.
He said it is important that Arctic players have something in common so that peace is maintained in the region.
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 white paper says.
It also says the Belt and Road Initiative will create opportunities for the parties concerned to jointly build a Polar Silk Road, and facilitate connectivity and sustainable economic and social development of the Arctic.
The Polar Silk Road is not only a plan for more roads, railways and shipping routes, but also a vision for promoting understanding among different peoples, Niinisto said.
More discussions are needed to explore the possibility of combining the Belt and Road Initiative and a European Union (EU) strategy plan to deepen connection with Asia, he added.
The Finnish president also said he agrees with President Xi Jinping’s vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind.
“We are more and more dependent on each other, and a shared future in my eyes means better connectivity, better mutual understanding, and a peaceful life where we can learn from each other,” he said.
The Finnish leader also praised China’s achievements in lifting tens of millions of people out of poverty in the past decades, saying he hopes such efforts will continue.
The president noted that people in the Western world, including Finland, are “having a very keen eye on the Chinese economy,” as it has a huge impact on the international economy.
“We hope the very positive momentum of the Chinese economy will continue,” said Niinisto.