China says `difficulties` with Norway persist

Last Updated: Saturday, December 10, 2011 - 00:46

Beijing: China on Friday said its relations with
Norway remained "difficult", a year after it downgraded
relations with Oslo in response to the award of the Nobel
Peace Prize to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo.

"The difficulties between China and Norway are because
the Norwegian government made the wrong decision when the
Nobel Peace Committee gave the award to Liu Xiaobo," Chinese
foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

"We hope the Norwegian side will make practical efforts
to resume the development of the bilateral relationship," he
told reporters.

His remarks came as five Nobel Peace Prize winners
launched a campaign to free Liu, saying they feared Beijing
was silencing his family and friends and the world would
forget his plight.

Liu, the first Chinese citizen to win the Peace Prize,
was sentenced to 11 years behind bars in 2009 after authoring
Charter 08, a manifesto signed by thousands seeking greater
rights in the communist nation.

The decision to award him the Nobel infuriated Beijing,
which suspended talks with Oslo on a free trade pact and
ordered strict and time-consuming veterinary controls on
Norwegian salmon.

The five members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, who
pick the Peace Prize laureate, are appointed by Norway`s
parliament, but are independent of the government and the
legislature.

Hong, who made the comments ahead of tomorrow`s ceremony
for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, did not elaborate on what
measures Norway could take to restore ties.

PTI



First Published: Saturday, December 10, 2011 - 00:46

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