The Chinese Foreign Ministry has issued a new ominous warning against Norway. The Chinese government remains angry and defiant after one of its leading citics was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
French news bureau AFP and Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that a spokeswoman for the Chinese government in Beijing said it would be “difficult” to continue “friendly relations” with Norway after this year’s Nobel Peace Prize ceremony.
The Nobel Peace Prize for 2010 will be awarded in Oslo next Friday to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, a human rights activist who’s viewed as a “criminal” by Chinese authorities. Liu remains in prison in China, so isn’t allowed to attend the ceremony, nor have any members of his family been allowed to travel to Oslo to collect Liu’s prize. The Norwegian Nobel Committee is expected to keep the diploma, the gold medal and the cash award for Liu until he can collect them at a later date.
The Chinese government delivered its latest remarks on the Peace Prize at a regular press conference in Beijing. The remarks largely repeated those made earlier by Chinese authorities.
Business unaffected, so far
NRK also reported on Thursday that private Norwegian businesses haven’t experienced any serious effects of the Chinese ire, at least not so far, because the Chinese don’t want to hinder their own economic growth. Business activity, exports and imports, were thus expected to continue between the two countries.
Newspaper Aftenposten reported earlier in the week, though, that important negotiations on a trade treaty between China and Norway had been postponed after the Chinese said they needed “more time for internal consultations.”
Reaction to the latest warning about Norwegian-Chinese relations from Beijing was muted. One Member of Parliament from the Labour Party called it a “confirmation that they (Chinese officials) won’t accept or respect” the separation between the decisions of the Norwegian Nobel Committee and Norway itself.