Norway shows good intentions to China
The Royal Couple is almost in place in Dunhuang, China, ready for a marathon of meetings and ceremonies. Experts believe the visit shows how important China is to Norway.
Tagging along on the trip are the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Minister for Industry and a large entourage of business people. They were invited to a state visit by President Xi Jinping last year – just after the several years of unfriendly liaisons as a result of the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to Deng Xiabo in 2010 began to improve.
– Norway has responded in a relatively short time after the invitation, something I think is to mark our return to developing the cooperation with China. It is still Norway that is showing goodwill, says China researcher at NUPI, Hans Jørgen Gåsemyr, to NTB.
He emphasises that China is developing cooperation with virtually all countries in the world and building up its activity in them.
– China is a major powerhouse in its relationship with very many countries. There are many countries like Norway in China’s view, but there are not many countries like China for Norway. That’s just the way it is, says Gåsemyr, who points out that China is becoming more and more important to Norway.
Good business opportunities with China
Yikai Wang is postdoctoral at the Economic Institute at UiO. He is Chinese but has lived in Norway since 2014. He believes the state visit is a door opener in itself.
– First, there is an interaction between the Governments, with President Xi Jinping and with the Norwegian King. When the political relationship is normalised, the next step is contact between companies and people in both countries, regarding export/import and other cooperation, he says.
He believes that the relationship can continue to grow in the future – as it has already done after the normalisation in late 2016. Wang highlights that Norwegian and Chinese companies complement each other in many ways.
– Norwegian companies are often ahead on technology, and here the Chinese want to learn and benefit from cooperation with Norway. This makes for good business opportunities, he says.
The salmon industry has suffered much during the diplomatic crisis. Here, Wang still sees a large potential for further growth.
– Before 2010, many Chinese knew that Norwegian salmon was healthy, but there were not many Chinese who ate salmon. Now more and more are eating salmon, and this market can really grow to be huge, he says.
Problematic matters in China
Business opportunities, collaboration on research, the Oceans and the Arctic regions are among the most important topics during the visit.
Professor of China Studies at UiO, Mette Halskov Hansen, believes it is important that the Norwegian authorities also take the time to talk about problematic matters.
– One must keep track of whether Norway is able to maintain, and report on, that major problems are detected in political developments and in terms of fundamental human rights. This has to be taken very seriously, she says.
The researcher sees few lights in the dark regarding this for the time being.
– It has probably surprised a lot of researchers and China experts how much tightening is taking place politically. The monitoring and censorship we see is also a threat to economic cooperation. It can make it difficult for companies to establish themselves in the country, as an example, she says.
At the same time, she emphasises that there is a positive development in tracking the understanding of climate issues – and in prospects for cooperation on the environment in China, and in this area she hopes that the state visit can yield results.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today