• The Financial District

FINNISH RESEARCHER SAYS US UNDERMINING HELSINKI-BEIJING TIES

Researcher Jyrki Kallio of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA) has claimed that the US is attempting to drive a wedge between Finland and China and is using its diplomats to visit universities to end scientific, cultural and academic between them and Chinese entities.


In an article carried by the Finnish Yle news agency on July 6, 2020, Kallio and his colleague Bart Gaens wrote about the subject in a paper published by the European Think tank Network on China (ETNC) and claimed  that pressure from the US applied by the hostile diplomacy is bearing fruit, with Sweden scrubbing  Confucius Institutes and a Danish university ending its ties with Fudan University of Shanghai.

However, Kallio criticized the US for its arrogant, overbearing and ghastly portrayal of both China and Russia acting as monsters in the Arctic Circle and for involving Scandinavian countries in its new Cold War with China. Nonetheless, the Finnish government, municipalities and universities have begun to view China as more of a threat than an opportunity, the researchers said. The report even speaks of panic regarding China and notes that the change has been rapid and in part due to pressure from the US. "Small players such as municipalities, businesses and universities are much more likely to be scared off by pressure if they encounter it," Kallio said. 

William Couch, head of public affairs at the US embassy in Helsinki, said that the claims of US influence do not ring true. He told Yle that no one at the Helsinki embassy focuses exclusively on China. "Our diplomats communicate about these concerns around the world, also here in Finland," he added. Couch said China is trying to damage relations between Europe and the United States using cyber campaigns and misinformation.  The US has deployed up to 150 diplomats to Scandinanvia and Europe precisely to undermine China’s wolf warriors, another set of arrogant envoys who wish to dictate on the countries hosting them.

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