SHARE
COPY LINK

CHINA

Norway seeks to end China Nobel freeze

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 Støre 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 8th 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.

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," Støre said in an opinion piece also published in DN.

Støre 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 percent in the first half of the year and its exports to the Scandinavian country leaping 43 percent in the same period.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

CHINA

Norway central bank deputy denied security clearance over Chinese wife

The deputy governor of Norway's central bank resigned on Friday after he was denied security clearance because he is married to a Chinese citizen, the bank said.

Norway central bank deputy denied security clearance over Chinese wife
Illustration photo: Drahomír Posteby-Mach on Unsplash

“The Norwegian Civil Security Clearance Authority informs me that the reason that I will not receive a renewed security clearance is that my wife is a Chinese citizen and resides in China, where I support her financially,” Jon Nicolaisen said in a statement from the bank.

“At the same time, they have determined that there are no circumstances regarding me personally that give rise to doubt about my suitability for obtaining a security clearance, but that this does not carry sufficient weight. I have now had to take the consequences of this,” he added.

As deputy governor, Nicolaisen had special responsibility for following up the bank's task of managing Norway's sovereign wealth fund, the world's biggest valued at more than 1 trillion euros.

According to the bank, Nicolaisen and his wife have been married since 2010.

He was appointed to the job in 2014, and his position was renewed in April 2020.

Diplomatic relations between Norway and China also went into a long deep freeze after the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in 2010. Ties were normalised in 2017.

READ ALSO: Norway oil fund loses 18 billion euros in first half of 2020

 

 

SHOW COMMENTS