Chinese Pump 300 Million into Aurora Research - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Chinese Pump 300 Million into Aurora Research

Published April 4, 2014

Nanna Árnadóttir
Photos by
Éric Lluent

The Chinese State is giving 300 million ISK to further Northern Lights research in North Iceland, reports RÚV.

The purpose of the money is to expand the current Aurora Observatory in Reykjadalur, North Iceland. Although construction and the running of the observatory will be conducted by Icelanders, the bill is being footed by the Chinese state and technology provided by the Polar Research Institute of China (PRIOC).

Scientists told RÚV last year, when the Chinese first became involved with Northern Lights observation in Iceland, that monitoring aurora can aid in the prediction of space weather.

The land on which the observatory sits is being leased to PRIOC via the company Arctic Portal fronted by Halldór Jóhannsson. Halldór works on the behalf of many Chinese investors, including businessman Huang Nubo who attempted to buy, then lease land in Iceland in 2012.

Pascal Heyman, former Deputy Director of the OSCE said in a recent interview withAkureyri Vikublað that Icelanders should be wary of what the Chinese want to achieve with the Aurora Observatory.

“The Chinese do not do anything without good reason. That the Chinese want to come here and research the sky above Iceland looks suspicious. We know that they are interested in the Arctic and that they have acquired land all over the world. Icelanders should tread carefully,” said Heyman.

Heyman went on to say that the Chinese could use the technology in the observatory to monitor NATO airspace.

There is however, no proof of foul play.

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