China’s foreign minister warns against awarding the Peace Prize to pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong. Prime Minister Erna Solberg emphasizes that the Nobel Committee is independent.
“That the Chinese will react to a Nobel Prize to opposition, we have experienced before. It is no surprise that we know that there will be reactions if it happens again,” says Prime Minister Erna Solberg (H) to NTB.
On Thursday, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi visited Norway for a short visit. At a press conference on Thursday night, Wang was asked by Aftenposten how China would react if the Nobel Peace Prize were to go to the pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong.
It came after Venstre’s then parliamentary representative Guri Melby, who later became Minister of Education in Solberg’s government, last year nominated the pro-democracy activists for the Peace Prize.
Warned against political Peace Prize
“In the past, present and in the future, China will certainly reject any attempt to use the Nobel Peace Prize to interfere in China’s internal affairs,” Wang said, adding:
“We do not want to see any attempt to politicize the Nobel Peace Prize.”
In 2010, Chinese regime critic Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Peace Prize. This led to Norway being put in the diplomatic freezer, and Norwegian business and industry had major problems in China. The conflict ended with a controversial normalization agreement in 2016 in which Norway undertook to refrain from supporting actions that undermine China’s core interests.
Emphasizes the independence of the Nobel Committee
“I am sending a message that the Nobel Committee is independent of the government. We do not set guidelines or enter into discussions about the Nobel Committee’s priorities. What we are working on is to show that there is a difference between the Nobel Committee and the government,” says Solberg.
– But the reactions of China in 2010 may indicate that they do not understand this difference?
“What I experience that the Chinese have given clear notice of, through their actions in 2010 and the fact that they react to this type of award, we have heard for many years. But I do not want to go into these analyses, precisely because I do not want to be perceived as interfering in what the Nobel Committee is doing or that I should apologize to the authorities of other countries for what the Nobel Committee is doing.”
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today