Finland’s president Sauli Niinisto said on Wednesday he had held constructive talks with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping over the damage done last October to the gas pipeline from Finland to Estonia.
Finnish police have said that a Hong Kong-flagged container ship named ‘NewNew Polar Bear’ is the prime suspect in damaging the BalticConnector gas pipeline.
But they said late last year that it was too early to tell if the incident was an accident or a deliberate act.
A large anchor, believed to belong to the Chinese vessel, was found near the pipeline, and the investigators said the pipe was likely broken as the anchor was dragged across the sea bed.
The BalticConnector pipeline is situated between two Nord Stream 1 pipelines. It was dragged 100 metres from where it was laid, and 4 kilometres of the pipeline is now dislocated, according to a local report.
Divers found an anchor next to the pipeline and paint from the anchor was found on the broken pipeline.
The anchor is believed to be from ‘Newnew Polar Bear’, as the vessel was photographed with a missing anchor in October and was known to be in the area when the pipeline was damaged.
Finland said in November that China had promised full cooperation in the pipeline probe.
“The presidents noted the constructive dialogue between the countries regarding the case of the BalticConnector pipeline,” the Finnish president’s office said in a statement on Wednesday, following talks with Xi.
Chinese state media also reported that the two presidents had spoken, but did not elaborate.
Niinisto and Xi also discussed other bilateral relations, as well as global political issues, Finland said.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard