China and Norway - An Ocean of Opportunities
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for the Queen and me to be back in Shanghai. This is now our third visit – and once again, we are impressed by the city’s incredible transformation since the last time we were here.
I have been told that Shanghai means ‘by the sea’. This in itself makes Shanghai appealing to Norwegians. Like you, we have a close relationship with the sea. We live by the sea, and we live off the resources from the sea.
For me personally, like for many Norwegians, the sea has always been an important place for leisure activities and sports – in my case both sailing and fishing.
The oceans and their related industries are of key importance to economic relations between Norway and China. Shanghai is an important gateway in this respect. You only have to catch a glimpse of the busy Huangpu River behind me to understand why there is such a large Norwegian shipping presence in this city. Even a hundred years ago, on average one Norwegian ship made a port of call in Shanghai every day – all year round.
Today, our cooperation covers not only shipping, the maritime industry, energy, fish and seafood, but has also expanded into new areas. It is impressive and inspiring to see how new technologies can bring new business opportunities and better global solutions.
Oceans and waterways have always been trading routes that connect countries and continents. The Vikings ventured all the way to North America and the Eastern Mediterranean.
Admiral Zheng He travelled from China across the entire Indian Ocean to East Africa.
Today, as was the case back then, the oceans hold vast potential for income generation, growth and development. If managed wisely, the oceans could provide the key to sustainable economic growth worldwide.
The fragility of our oceans has, however, become an increasing concern. If the oceans are to secure our future as they have provided for us in the past, we must stop treating them as a dumping ground.
We must work together at the global level to ensure sustainable use of the oceans.
We must coordinate our efforts, and combine Norwegian and Chinese expertise, technology, ingenuity and resourcefulness.
The younger generation gives me hope. My own children and grandchildren have on more than one occasion made the Queen and me help clear up plastic waste on the beaches we have visited. Later today, we will meet some Chinese volunteers who are working for sustainable oceans here. It is encouraging to see how much young people care about our oceans and our planet.
The oceans are also in focus in the growing Arctic cooperation between our two countries. Today, global emissions are causing rapid and dramatic changes to the Arctic environment, as well as to the planet as a whole.
Receding sea ice, increasing temperatures and rising sea levels affect us all. We cannot ignore the signals. Increased scientific research is vital for gaining further knowledge about how we can address the challenges posed by climate change.
There is clearly a need to further develop green business solutions. In the Norwegian Arctic, the first zero-emission vessels will soon be in operation, as ferries for tourists, and for use in fisheries and aquaculture.
Bright minds from China and Norway are working together to find solutions, and Shanghai – as China’s polar research capital and key maritime hub – is playing an important role.
We look forward to an interesting day here in the city ‘by the sea’. The ties between our countries go back a long way. Still, I hope and believe that our most important joint accomplishments are yet to come.