Norway eyes first ministerial visit to China since Nobel row
Norway said on Monday that its energy minister will visit Beijing in September, the first Norwegian official to visit China since a spat over the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to a Chinese dissident.world Updated: Aug 29, 2011 19:54 IST
Norway said on Monday that its energy minister will visit Beijing in September, the first Norwegian official to visit China since a spat over the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to a Chinese dissident.
Oil and energy minister Ole Borten Moe will take up an invitation to attend an international conference on carbon capture in Beijing on September 9-13, his ministry said.
This would be the first visit to China by a Norwegian official since jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded, in his absence, 2010's Nobel Peace Prize.
An infuriated China responded by cancelling political dialogue with Oslo and suspending talks on a free trade pact, although business relations between the two countries have continued to prosper.
"This is not a bilateral meeting," foreign ministry spokeswoman Marte Lerberg Kopstad said, adding that there was "nothing new" in their diplomatic ties.
"We would like to have good relations with China and we think that would be in the interest of both countries," she said.
The foreign ministry said Borten Moe was jointly invited by the Chinese energy minister and his US counterpart, since the United States heads the policy group of the 24-member Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CLSF).
Norway heads the forum's technical group.
The Scandinavian country has repeatedly emphasised that the five-member Nobel committee is an independent body.
Beijing nonetheless blamed Norway's centre-left government for supporting the committee's choice.
The Chinese embassy in Oslo could not be immediately reached for comment on Borten Moe's upcoming visit.