China calls for 'fair' gas pipeline damage probe by Finland

Finnish Navy Deep Divers support to civilian authorities in the investigation of the gas pipe damage in the Gulf of Finland

BEIJING (Reuters) - China called on Monday for an "objective, fair and professional" investigation into damage to a subsea gas pipeline between Finland and Estonia, saying a Chinese vessel in the area at the time was sailing normally.

China and Finland have started communication over the damage to the Balticconnector gas pipeline and China hopes that the relevant parties can find the truth as soon as possible, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Mao Ning, told a regular press briefing.

An investigation into the pipeline damage is focused on the role of the Chinese NewNew Polar Bear container vessel, Finland's National Bureau of Investigation said on Friday.

"It is understood that the Chinese vessel was normal in the relevant waters at the time of the incident, and no abnormalities were found due to the poor sea conditions at that time," said Mao when addressing a question on the matter at the briefing.

She added that China had always advocated that the international community should strengthen cooperation and jointly safeguard the security of cross-border infrastructure.

(Reporting by Liz Lee; Writing by Bernard Orr; Editing by Christopher Cushing, Robert Birsel)