Geographical and cultural distances aside, Northeast Asia and the Nordic countries have a lot to learn from each other, says former diplomat and FNI Associate Fellow, Arne Walther.
The Shanghai Forum is a prestigious annual international platform for dialogue to “seek consensus on Asia’s economic, political, social and cultural progress”. It gathers mainly representatives of non-governmental organisations, academic institutes, media as well as former political leaders. Turkey's former President Abdul Gül was this year's foreign guest of honor.
Cooperating 'the NorWay'
FNI fellow Walther was invited 26-29 May to speak on “Nordic Cooperation and Sustainable Development the NorWay” and to participate in a panel discussion on “Dialogue and Cooperation between Northeast Asia and the Nordic Region in a New Global Order”.
The current world order is being challenged by calls for de-globalization. These calls are fueled by increasing nationalist, populist, protectionist and anti-integration sentiment in the very countries that have spearheaded, and perhaps benefitted the most from, that world order,' Wather said, and added: 'When global solutions to global problems are difficult to find, cooperation within regions becomes all the more important. As does cooperation between regions. This applies not least to cooperation within and between the Nordic Region and Northeast Asia.'
On the PM's agenda
Walther also added that there should for example be potential for stepping up dialogue and cooperation on issues of common concern within the overall framework of the Arctic Council, where the Nordic countries are members and Northeast Asian countries China, Japan and Korea now have official observer status.
Issues of sustainable development were top-agenda when Prime Minister Erna Solberg in April paid an official visit to China. She highlighted especially the close cooperation between Norway and China on Arctic issues and was confident that Norway and China would enjoy even closer cooperation now that diplomatic and political relations have been normalized.