China currently has an ad-hoc observer status along with the European Union, Italy, Japan and South Korea. They all have to send request to observe each meeting, but they are usually granted.
China, EU, Italy and South Korea were all denied a permanent observer status in 2009.
Permanent observers receive invitations for most Arctic Council meetings and they have an easier way to participate in Council-related projects.
Iceland is now trying to smooth the stiff relations between China and Norway. Össur Skarphéðinsson, the foreign minister of Iceland, has spoken to both the premier of China, Wen Jiabao, and his colleague from Norway, foreign minister Jonas Gahr Støre, about the issue.
Össur hopes for a better understanding between the nations.
He states that the Arctic Council is in the process of creating obligations for states to fulfill if they wish to receive the permanent observer status.