Norway laments icy China relations

2011-10-11 17:55

Oslo - Norway's foreign minister on Tuesday lamented the icy relations between his country and China since last year's Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to a jailed Chinese dissident, and called on Beijing to turn the page.

"It is unnatural and untenable for Norway and China to have frozen political relations," Jonas Gahr Stoere said in an interview with the Norwegian financial daily Dagens Naeringsliv (DN).

"We now have to use our energy to look to the future. The road forward should be that we resume political dialogue" between the two countries, he added.

China halted all high-level political dialogue with Norway after the Norwegian Nobel Committee on October 8 2010 announced the Peace Prize would go to Chinese dissident and democracy activist Liu Xiaobo, who Beijing considers a "criminal" and who is currently serving an 11-year prison sentence for "subversion".

Beijing also suspended talks with Oslo on a free trade pact and has ordered such strict and time-consuming veterinary controls on Norwegian salmon that fresh fish has ended up rotting in Chinese warehouses, plunging exports to the Asian giant into freefall.

Committee independent in decision

Norwegian business leaders have also reported running into increased difficulties on the massive Chinese market.

"It is a responsibility of political leaders to seek ways out of this situation," Stoere said in an opinion piece also published in DN.

Stoere stressed that the Nobel Committee's five members are totally independent in their prize decision even though they are appointed by the Norwegian parliament, as stipulated in prize creator Alfred Nobel's will.

In the carefully-worded piece, Norway's chief diplomat highlighted his country's emphasis on human rights, but also stressed that he "respected China's right to choose its own development path on the basis of Chinese traditions and culture".

While political dialogue has been halted, bilateral trade - excluding salmon - has meanwhile soared, with Chinese imports from Norway rising 16% in the first half of the year and its exports to the Scandinavian country leaping 43% in the same period.

  • sabc10 - 2011-10-11 18:12

    Westerners will do anything for money

      letsee - 2011-10-11 19:38

      Hey Dude, Norway gave money, didn't receive any money for awarding the Nobel prize.

  • mcgrathr20 - 2011-10-11 18:35

    Should come to SA for lessons on proper behaviour to China.

  • farga - 2011-10-11 19:01

    the word to learn is KowTow... the Chinese gave it to us....and they except it from us too!!!

  • letsee - 2011-10-11 19:39

    Something to learn from South Africa. In future prostitute your honour.

  • Michel - 2011-10-23 17:29

    Liu Xiaobo's China How a Nobel prizewinner is treated reveals the real value of a society. Liu Xiaobo jail sentence shows what human right defenders have to endure in China. Chinese authorities reduce to silence any other opinion than theirs. Liu Xiaobo, was condemned in 2009 at 11 years of prison for subversion. One year after having received the Nobel peace prize, the Chinese dissident is still in prison and his wife, Liu Xia, is detained in her residence. Nevertheless, China, the only country to actually detain a Nobel prizewinner, still maintain that it can be the next world superpower. But who can believe what says a country, which tramples human rights and imprisons those who dare to raise their voice against them?

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