Norway and China in first talks since Nobel spat

Norway and China met on Monday on the sidelines of an Asia-Europe summit, marking their first official contact since Beijing objected to a Chinese dissident being named the 2010 Nobel peace laureate, Norwegian media reported.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao held a brief meeting while attending the summit in Laos. There were no immediate comments on the encounter.

Relations cooled between the two countries after the pro-democracy dissident Liu Xiaobo, who Beijing considers a "criminal", was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

The Nobel committee, which is independent of the government though its members are chosen by the Norwegian parliament, angered China which broke off all high-level contact with Norway.

Despite the freeze in diplomatic relations and the restrictions China imposed on imported Norwegian salmon, trade has continued to prosper between the two countries over the past two years.

Last week, media reported that Chinese deputy foreign minister Ma Zhaoxu said he would return to Norway in a bid to normalize relations.

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