Beijing And Oslo Will Seek Free Trade Agreement




China and Norway agreed on Monday to normalize bilateral ties, which deteriorated six years ago, with Oslo vowing not to support acts that hamper China's core interests.


Premier Li Keqiang and Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende confirmed in their meeting that the two countries would negotiate a free-trade deal.


China-Norway relations deteriorated due to controversy around the Nobel Peace Prize award in 2010 and events connected with the prize.


"The Norwegian side adheres to the one-China policy and respects China's core interests and major concerns," Brende told Li, according to a news release.


He said normalization of the ties bears historic significance and sends a positive signal to international society.


Li said the two mutually supplemental economies have a bright future of cooperation. Beijing will also deepen cooperation with Oslo in international and regional affairs, he added.


Foreign Minister Wang Yi said while meeting with Brende in Beijing earlier on Monday that in recent years, relations had taken a step backward, according to the Foreign Ministry's website.


"Norway deeply reflected upon the reasons why bilateral mutual trust was harmed and had conscientious, solemn consultations with China about how to improve bilateral relations," Wang said.


He said the two sides reached an important consensus on the lessons learned and restoration of mutual trust.


Brende told Wang that Norway will "fully respect China's development path and social system, and will not support any move hampering China's core interests and major concerns".


Shares of Norwegian salmon exporters, which have largely been shut out of the lucrative Chinese market, rose on Monday, with Grieg Seafood up by 2.1 percent and Marine Harvest up by 1.1 percent, according to Reuters.


Pang Zhongying, professor of international relations at Renmin University of China, said the change of Norway's stance follows the logic of economic interdependence in global trade.


"The European economy is not performing well, while China still has relatively rapid growth. That's the basic reason," he said.



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