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Norway PM to China to seal reconciliation

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Norway PM to China to seal reconciliation
Prime Minister Erna Solberg. Photo: Cornelius Poppe/NTB scanpix
12:02 CEST+02:00
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg will travel to China next week for talks with top leaders, her office said Friday, a visit expected to seal the two countries' reconciliation after a deep freeze.

China froze high-level ties with Norway after the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2010 to human rights activist Liu Xiaobo, imprisoned in his own country by authorities who consider him a "criminal".

The two countries only announced the resumption of diplomatic relations in December last year. Salmon exports to China, one of Norway's biggest export items, suffered as a result of the row, dealing a blow to the industry.

"I am very pleased that we are now normalising our diplomatic and political relations with China," Solberg said in a statement.

"The visit reflects the fact that both countries wish to re-establish our longstanding, broad and forward-looking cooperation."

Accompanied by a delegation of ministers and business leaders, Solberg will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang during her visit April 7-10.

It will be the first visit by a Norwegian prime minister in a decade.

Liu Xiaobo has been serving an 11-year sentence since 2009 for "subversion", after co-writing a text calling for democracy in China.

Norway's government repeatedly refused to present an official apology to China, insisting that the Nobel Committee was an independent body free to make its own choices.

In a joint statement in December however, Oslo said it had "deeply reflected upon the reasons why bilateral mutual trust was harmed", and agreed to "not support actions that undermine" China's interests and to "do its best to avoid any future damage to the bilateral relations."

READ ALSO: Chinese newspaper: 'Ridiculous' Norway 'paid its price' for Nobel rift

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