Oslo: Norway said on Monday its energy minister
will visit Beijing next month, the first Norwegian official to
visit China since a spat over the awarding of the Nobel Peace
Prize to a Chinese dissident.
Oil and Energy Minister Ole Borten Moe will take up an
invitation to attend an international conference on carbon
capture in Beijing on September 9-13, his ministry said.
This would be the first visit to China by a Norwegian
official since jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was
awarded, in his absence, last year's Nobel Peace Prize.
An infuriated China responded by cancelling political
dialogue with Oslo and suspending talks on a free trade pact,
although business relations between the two countries have
continued to prosper.
"This is not a bilateral meeting," foreign ministry
spokeswoman Marte Lerberg Kopstad said, adding that there
was "nothing new" in their diplomatic ties.
"We would like to have good relations with China and we
think that would be in the interest of both countries," she
The foreign ministry said Borten Moe was jointly invited
by the Chinese energy minister and his US counterpart, since
the United States heads the policy group of the 24-member
Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CLSF).
Norway heads the forum's technical group.
The Scandinavian country has repeatedly emphasised that
the five-member Nobel committee is an independent body.
Beijing nonetheless blamed Norway's centre-left
government for supporting the committee's choice.
The Chinese embassy in Oslo could not be immediately
reached for comment on Borten Moe's upcoming visit.
First Published: Monday, August 29, 2011, 22:48