President of China’s People’s Congress, Li Zhanshu, praised Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Høyre (H) for extending previous positions far to restore relations with China.
The two met on Thursday in the government’s representative’s residence, where Li Zhanshu, who is the third highest ranked leader in China, signed the guest protocol.
Before the actual meeting, the traditional courtesy phrases were exchanged with both Norwegian and Chinese press present.
“I want to thank you, Prime Minister, for stretching yourself a long way to restore your relationship with China” Li said.
The relationship between the two countries froze up in 2010 after the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, and it took six years for the big freeze to thaw.
‘’This is the first high-ranking visit from China since 2010.
So this is a milestone in our relationship’’ said Solberg, who also reminded those present of the king’s visit to China in October last year.
This year’s visit coincides with the fact that it is 65 years since Norway and China gained full diplomatic relations.
Minister of Trade, Torbjørn Røe Isaksen, and the Secretary of State, Marianne Hagen, and Ingvild Stub also attended the meeting.
‘’Norway was one of the first western countries to recognise China and established diplomatic relations’’ recalled Li, who also said he was looking forward to experiencing a Norwegian May 17.
Li has been chairman of the People’s Congress for over a year.
Among the topics the two will discuss at the half-hour meeting are climate, trade, and human rights said NTB news.
On Wednesday, there were demonstrations outside parliament ahead of Lis’s meeting with Tone Trøen. But then, demonstrators from the Chinese-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce ensured that Amnesty, the Norwegian Tibet Committee and the Norwegian
Uigur Committee were present.
China has been met with strong criticism from human rights groups for its treatment of the Muslim Uighur minority.
Also on Thursday, pro-Chinese protesters made noise outside the home of the representative in case any Amnesty protesters might appear. But when no one appeared, they went away again.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today