Nobel Prize winner shakes Norwegian-Chinese relations / News / The Foreigner

Nobel Prize winner shakes Norwegian-Chinese relations. “This is an indecency towards the Peace Prize,” says Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Today’s Nobel Peace Prize award to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has caused China to threaten a policy change towards Norway. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has called the award “and indecency towards the Peace Prize”, according to AP (Associated Press).

liu, xiaobo, nobel, peace, prize, oslo, committee, jonas, gahr, stoere, institute, geir, lundestad, china, trade, trond, giske, fu, ying, prio, peace, research, institute



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Nobel Prize winner shakes Norwegian-Chinese relations

Published on Saturday, 9th October, 2010 at 00:30 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Ramona Tancau   .
Last Updated on 9th October 2010 at 09:53.

“This is an indecency towards the Peace Prize,” says Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Chinese Embassy, Oslo
Chinese Embassy, Oslo
Photo: Algkalv/Wikimedia Commons


Protests

Today’s Nobel Peace Prize award to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo has caused China to threaten a policy change towards Norway.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has called the award “and indecency towards the Peace Prize”, according to AP (Associated Press).

Almost instantly after the winner’s announcement the Chinese Foreign Ministry summoned Norwegian ambassador to China Svein O. Sæther, VG reports.

“They called him in to protest about today’s Peace Prize award. They said they disagreed with the Nobel Committee’s decision. [However,] our Ambassador outlined once again that the committee is an independent body,” Ragnhild Imerslund, Assistant Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (UD), tells Dagbladet.

Danger

Imerslund says the Ambassador informed the Chinese Norway is still committed to continuing positive bilateral arrangements, and confirms there was not mention of the agreement at today’s meeting.

Nevertheless, there are fears it could put a future Norwegian-Chinese relations in jeopardy.

“There is a considerable risk that forthcoming negotiations on the free trade agreement with China will now be put on ice. One can also imagine the reactions will be even worse, to the extent that diplomatic relations are threatened,” says Professor Stein Tønnessen at PRIO (Peace Research Institute Oslo).

Jonas Gahr Støre comments on Nobel prize
Jonas Gahr Støre comments on Nobel prize
Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Flickr
In addition, Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre recently criticised China’s human rights violations, and took it up with the government on when he travelled to Beijing in August this year.

“We believe that the regime's opinion control and limitation of organizational and religious freedom is contrary to universal rights. We must reject that social development and fighting poverty justify abuse of power and violating human rights,” he told Klassekampen at the time.

He now claims it is really up to the Chinese to decide what will happen next regarding the deal.

“This is something China must take responsibility for. I have also seen [their] message, but we will probably hear more about in the hours ahead and then we will consider it. Norway has a long-term relationship with China, [and] we discuss areas where we agree and disagree. We have no plans to change that,” Støre tells Dagbladet.

Impasse?

However, Norway has noticed the growing importance of China as a market recently, attempting to improve bilateral relations and reach a trade agreement serving both countries’ interests.

In advance of his trade agreement trip to China in January, Trade and Industry Minister Trond Giske said “the future is about being part of the new, substantial markets. One of my major aims is to help Norwegian trade and industry become even more international, because we need something else to live off than just oil and gas.”

China has also shown interest in the Arctic, building up one of the strongest polar scientific research capabilities, and cooperating with Norway.

Climate change and the meltdown of Arctic ice are beginning to open trading routes between Europe and Asia that would benefit both Norway and China.

Liu Xiaobo
Liu Xiaobo
Voice of America/Wikimedia Commons
“Global actors have legitimate interests in the region and can make a valuable contribution. China is becoming a key player also in issues related to the Arctic,” said Minister Støre, speaking at the China Institute of Studies whilst on his trip to Beijing.

In spirit

Meanwhile, it looks doubtful that Chinese authorities will allow Liu Xiaobo to travel from his Jinzhou Prison cell in Liaoning Province in northeast China to collect his award on 10th December in Oslo City Hall.

Nobel Institute Director Geir Lundestad says the Peace Prize ceremony and concert will go ahead as normal, but believes Xiaobo will still be remembered.

“He has said and written a lot. We will hear his voice, even though he is not there,” Lundestad tells NRK.



Published on Saturday, 9th October, 2010 at 00:30 under the news category, by Michael Sandelson and Ramona Tancau   .
Last updated on 9th October 2010 at 09:53.

This post has the following tags: liu, xiaobo, nobel, peace, prize, oslo, committee, jonas, gahr, stoere, institute, geir, lundestad, china, trade, trond, giske, fu, ying, prio, peace, research, institute.





  
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