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China, Norway ink cooperation plans amid full normalization of ties

Updated: Apr 8,2017 7:08 AM     Xinhua

Premier Li Keqiang (R) holds a welcome ceremony for Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg before their talks in Beijing, capital of China, April 7, 2017.[Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING — China and Norway on April 7 announced a package of cooperation initiatives during Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s visit to Beijing, normalizing relations after a six-year hiatus.

Premier Li Keqiang and Solberg held talks and witnessed the signing of cooperation documents ranging from the resumption of a free trade agreement negotiations, and science and technology, to sports and health.

Solberg’s visit is the first by a Norwegian prime minister since bilateral ties deteriorated after the Oslo-based Nobel Committee conferred the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize on convicted Chinese criminal Liu Xiaobo. Liu was sentenced to 11 years in jail on Dec 25, 2009, after a court in Beijing convicted him of engaging in activities designed to overthrow the government.

The two countries agreed to normalize relations last December after Norway pledged to respect China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Receiving Solberg at the Great Hall of the People, Premier Li said that China-Norway relations had got back on track, which deserved to be treasured by both sides.

He called on Norway to adhere to the one-China principle and work with China in the spirit of mutual respect, treat each other on an equal footing, and respect each other’s core interests and major concerns to enhance political trust to reboot the relationship.

“China is willing to restart free trade agreement negotiation and political consultation mechanisms with Norway, establish an inter-governmental energy policy dialogue and increase the exchanges between the business community,” Premier Li said.

He said China and Norway could strengthen cooperation in energy and marine projects to explore third markets, enhancing exchanges in various fields, including agriculture, fishery, husbandry, science and innovation, and law enforcement.

“China is pushing forward a new round of opening-up to make the country a most attractive investment destination. China welcomes Norwegian enterprises and sovereign wealth funds to expand investment in China for win-win outcomes,” the Premier said.

Premier Li said that China and Norway would champion multilateralism and were committed to pursuing an open global economy and free trade as well as international cooperation to tackle climate change and sustainable development.

“China will enhance communication with Norway in international and regional affairs and achieve more fruitful cooperation within the Arctic Council and China-Nordic countries cooperation framework,” the Premier said.

Solberg said Norway would follow the guideline of a joint statement on the normalization of bilateral ties, uphold the one-China policy, respect China’s core interests and major concerns, and enhance political trust with China.

Solberg said Norway hoped for the early resumption of bilateral free trade agreement negotiations and would expand cooperation in areas like agriculture, fishery, environmental protection, finance, investment and winter sports.

“Norway supports China to play an active role in the Arctic Council,” Solberg said.

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