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



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Norway told by China not to ‘politicise’ Nobel Peace Prize

China's foreign minister on Thursday sought a speedy conclusion to a free trade deal with Norway but warned Oslo against "politicising" the Nobel by awarding another Peace Prize to a Chinese dissident.

Norway told by China not to 'politicise' Nobel Peace Prize
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi makes an elbow bump with Norway's Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide in Oslo on Thursday. Photo: AFP

Talks on a free-trade pact began in 2008, but relations between Oslo and Beijing were frozen from 2010 to 2016 after the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to a Chinese dissident, Liu Xiabao.

Negotiations resumed in 2017.

“Given the impact of Covid-19, early completion of the China-Norway FTA negotiations is of great significance to the bilateral economic bilateral relations and trade as well as to the efforts to keep the global supply chain open and connected,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters during a visit to Oslo as part of a European tour.

“The two sides need to speed up the negotiation and bring it to early conclusion,” he said.

But the minister warned against “interference” when asked about a proposal to nominate the people of Hong Kong for a Nobel, mooted last year by Norwegian politician Guri Melby, now the minister of education and immigration. Melby is a candidate to become the new leader of the centre-right Liberal party, a junior partner in the government.

Beginning in 2019, Hong Kong saw seven straight months of huge pro-democracy protests, culminating in the passing in June 2020 of a new national security law for Hong Kong by China’s top legislature, severely curbing the freedom of expression of people in the territory.

“In the past, and today, in the future, China will firmly reject any attempt by anyone to use the Nobel Peace Prize to interfere in China's internal affairs. This position of the Chinese side is rock-firm and we do not want to see anyone politicising the Nobel Peace Prize,” Wang said.

This year's Nobel peace prize will be announced in Oslo on October 9th.