|Norway’s relation with China still frozen over Nobel award|
| [09.02.2012, 08:06am, Thu. GMT]|
|Norway’s prime minister has said its rift with China has not healed since the row over the 2010 award of the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident, Liu Xiaobo. Jens Stoltenberg also said he had made no decision over whether Beijing could join the Arctic Council. Relations between the two nations have been frozen since the Oslo-based Nobel Committee gave Mr Liu the 2010 Peace Prize for his human rights struggle.“The ties are not becoming normal, they still reflect the problems, challenges we faced after the award of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010,” the premier said during the summit of Nordic and Baltic leaders in Stockholm. “It’s very static, it’s very, very much the same as it has been for a long time.”|
A call by Norway in October to normalise ties was rejected by China, which said the Nobel decision constituted interference in its affairs.
Norwegian media has said Norway may try to pressure China by threatening to stop it from joining the Arctic Council as a permanent observer.
The council is a forum for dialogue over how to develop the Arctic region. Membership would help China wield influence over what may become important trade routes as the region’s ice melts.
China has shelved bilateral free-trade talks with Norway and ditched meetings with Norwegian ministers since the award to Mr Liu. Exports to China by Norwegian salmon producers such Marine Harvest have plunged due to protracted inspections at China’s borders. Norway’s Statoil has linked lack of access to Chinese shale gas fields to Mr Liu’s award.