News story | Date: 07/04/2017 | Office of the Prime Minister
Prime Minister Erna Solberg was today received by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. ‘We had a very constructive conversation about how we can expand and strengthen relations between our two countries,’ said Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
Prime Minister Solberg, Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende and Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland were today welcomed in Beijing at the start of an official visit. This is the first visit by a Norwegian Prime Minister to China for 10 years.
‘Close contact with the Chinese leadership is important for ensuring a robust and predictable relationship based on common interests, trust and understanding. My impression from our conversation was that both countries are seeking to re-establish long-term, broad and forward-looking cooperation. We agreed to establish a consultation mechanism at political level between our foreign ministries, where we can discuss all matters of common interest, both bilateral and multilateral, including issues relating to the UN, human rights, and trade policy. This means that the framework for political dialogue is in place, which is essential for ensuring effective political cooperation,’ said Ms Solberg.
‘China is playing a key role in the efforts to combat climate change, and I welcome the fact that this is high on Premier Li’s agenda,’ said Ms Solberg. Premier Li also expressed an interest in strengthening cooperation between Norway and China in the Arctic.
There was an official welcoming ceremony, after which Prime Minister Solberg had a meeting with the Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, Zhang Dejiang. Premier Li also held a banquet in honour of his Norwegian counterpart, with a number of Chinese ministers in attendance.
Prime Minister Solberg and Premier Li witnessed the signing of six agreements at government level between Norway and China, on the resumption of free trade negotiations, a Norway-China Mixed Commission for Economy and Trade, technical and financial cooperation, and on sport, research, and health.
‘The economies of Norway and China are in many ways complementary. There are significant opportunities for the Norwegian private sector in China. I therefore look forward to resuming negotiations on a bilateral free trade agreement, and starting work in the Mixed Commission for Economy and Trade, which will benefit both our countries,’ said Ms Solberg.