Cold relations with China ‘damaging’

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The ongoing diplomatic freeze between Norway and China is damaging to both parties, which would do well to put the conflict behind them, according to a major Chinese investment expert. Meanwhile, China’s ambassador to Norway continues to blame Thorbjørn Jagland, head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

Relations between China and Norway are hanging in the balance. PHOTO: UD

It was the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo that set off the diplomatic conflict that’s resulted in a lack of high-level political contact between China and Norway for more than a year. Norway is allegedly losing the potential for Chinese investment, said Victor Zhikai Gao at a conference in Oslo last week, while China is losing access to Norwegian technology and, in the long run, access to new trade routes through the Arctic.

Victor Zhikai Gao leads the Beijing Private Equity Association and China Private Equity Association and is playing a major role in reforming China’s finance industry. Even though trade between Norway and China actually rose last year, he thinks fallout from the Nobel conflict is delaying or spoiling Chinese investment in Norwegian companies.

Neither side seems inclined to take new steps towards reconciliation. Tang Guogiang, China’s ambassador to Norway, once again criticized Jagland in a lengthy column in newspaper Aftenposten on Monday, and claimed that 87 percent of the Chinese population is satisfied with developments in Chinese, and that China has human rights and freedom of expression, albeit in accordance with Chinese law. He denied a claim by Jagland that a “new wall” exists between China’s communist party and its people, and asked for respect for China’s chosen path.

Views and News staff