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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

‘Trusted’ China will cooperate with Baltic Sea pipeline damage investigation – Politico

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Finland’s Foreign Minister Elina Valtonen said she trusts Chinese authorities to support Finland’s investigation into damage to a gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea that Helsinki suspects was caused by the Chinese fishing boat New New Polar Bear.

“Now that the ship has actually arrived in China, there will be cooperation between the Chinese authorities, the Finnish authorities, and perhaps the Estonian authorities as well,” Valtonen told POLITICO in an interview on Friday.

“At the diplomatic level, China has committed to cooperating with the investigation, and we believe that China will cooperate to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation,” he added.

Finnish investigators have identified the Chinese container ship New New Polar Bear as the prime suspect in the rupture of the Baltic Connector, a 77-kilometre gas pipeline connecting NATO members Estonia and Finland on the Baltic Sea floor. was identified.

Authorities believe the ship pulled anchor across the Baltic seabed between October 7 and 8, cutting a gas line and two communications cables linking Estonia to Finland and Sweden.

Since the vessel was identified as a suspect, Finland and Estonia have been in contact with Chinese authorities seeking assistance in the investigation. The Baltic Times reported earlier this week that two European countries had asked for representatives to be sent to Beijing to investigate the ship, which arrived in the Chinese port city of Tianjin this week.

Valtonen said Friday that the investigation into the ship “has not yet been conducted,” but he expected “more information will be available in the coming days.”

Authorities have not yet determined whether the incident was accidental or intentional, but many civil servants and military officials in Finland and Estonia believe it was a deliberate act of sabotage.





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