China, Norway to write ‘new chapter of friendship’

World Today

China NorwayChinese President Xi Jinping (L) holds a welcome ceremony for Norwegian King Harald V in Beijing, October 16, 2018. /Xinhua Photo

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Norwegian King Harald V agreed to inject new impetus into the development of China-Norway relations and write a new chapter of traditional friendship between the two countries during their talks on Tuesday.

King Harald V is on a state visit to China from October 11 to 20.

Xi told King Harald V that the development of China-Norway relations has been fruitful since the normalization of their ties in 2016, adding that sustainable, sound and steady development of bilateral ties is in the interests of the people in both countries and conforms to the trend of peace, development and win-win cooperation of the times.

China-Norway relations deteriorated after the Oslo-based Nobel Committee conferred the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize on convicted Chinese criminal Liu Xiaobo. The two countries issued a statement in December 2016 to normalize their ties.

China and Norway will celebrate the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations in 2019, and Beijing is willing to make joint efforts with Oslo to usher in a better future for bilateral relations, said Xi.

The Chinese president called on the two sides to keep consolidating and enhancing mutual political trust and adhere to the principle of mutual respect and equal treatment. China and Norway should fully respect and accommodate each other’s core interests and major concerns so as to lay a solid political foundation for steady and sustainable development of their relations, he stressed.

China is willing to actively discuss cooperation with Norway within the Belt and Road framework, he told King Harald V.

Proposed by Xi in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative comprises the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, and aims to build trade and infrastructure networks connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes.

King Harald V noted that he has visited China many times with Queen Sonja since 1985 and witnessed the country’s rapid development and huge changes.

“My visit to China this time proves that Norway-China relations have returned to the right track and shown strong vitality again,” King Harald V said. “There is still great potential for further cooperation between the two sides.”

He expressed Norway’s willingness to support China in hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The two leaders witnessed the signing of a number of cooperation documents after their talks.

China’s top legislator Li Zhanshu also met with King Harald V on Tuesday.

Free Trade Agreement

Accompanying the Norwegian king in China is a delegation of about 340 business people from various sectors, representing 140 companies.

The two sides also exchanged views on signing a China-Norway Free Trade Agreement, according to Liu Weimin, deputy director of the Department of European Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

“Both agreed to work toward an early conclusion of the signing of relevant documents so as to further enhance practical cooperation in various areas,” Liu said. “China and Norway have sent a strong message to the world that the two sides will promote free trade, safeguard an open world economy, and oppose protectionism, which will be significant not only to the development of bilateral trade but also to the multilateral trade system in the world.”

The royal couple will also visit Shanghai to attend business events about marine technology and sustainability.