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Norway sinks Chinese tycoon's ambitions on Arctic island of Svalbard, says land not available

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STAVANGER, Norway - Norway says it will buy a vast tranche of private land on its Arctic island of Svalbard a week after a Chinese property tycoon said he wanted the land to build a resort for wealthy travellers.

Trade Minister Monica Maeland said Thursday the "common good" on the island is best served if the 216 square kilometres (83 square miles) was in public hands.

Last week developer Huang Nubo had talked up the possibility of persuading hardy Chinese and Russian tourists to visit the icy island famous for its snow-covered mountains, fjords and glaciers.

Huang's purchase would have given him a foothold along a potential Arctic shipping route that could cut weeks off the current trade route from the Far East to European and North American markets.

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