China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and state-owned China Telecom are among those taking part in discussions about building a 10,500 km fiber-optic link across the Arctic Circle that would cost an estimated 700 million euros. A report in the South China Morning Post said that China is in discussions with Finland, Japan, Russia and Norway "to create the fastest data connection between Europe and China as soon as 2020." The story said that the faster connectivity with help European financial centers and data hubs, and fits into China’s long-term "Belt and Road" trade-and-infrastructure initiative. The project, made logistically feasible by melting in the Arctic region, furthers China’s growing ties with Finland, the story said. It noted that Xi Jinping is the first Chinese president to visit the country since 1995. A freight railway between the Finnish city of Kouvola and China’s Xian recently opened and Finnair is seeking to become a regional hub for flights between the two continents. Cinia Group, a Finnish government-owned information and communications technology company, has a prominent role in the so-called "Northeast Passage" cable project and is looking for partners. "It has been widely expressed that this cable route would provide a game changer in the industry," said Jukka-Pekka Joensuu, an executive adviser to Cinia. Estimates suggest that the new cable could cut the time delay from Asia to Europe in half.