It is a great pleasure to welcome His Majesty the King, Harald V and Her Majesty the Queen, Sonja on a State Visit to China. This is in fact their Majesties fourth visit to China and they will start in Dunhuang with UNESCO-listed Mogao Caves, which has been on their wish list ever since their first visit in 1985.
Compared to China, Norway is a small country. Remember though that there is only one country between our borders, and I will argue that we are a gem to be discovered. Norway is said to be among the happiest countries in the world. We have an egalitarian and inclusive society. You can see the Northern lights, spectacular fjords and tall mountains. But did you also know that Oslo is ranked among the 10 capitals to visit in 2018? The big classics like Ibsen, Grieg and Munch are well known, but in addition, we have Alan Walker and the ground-breaking TV-series Skam. Norway is famous for salmon, and our ocean has made us one of the largest producers of oil and gas, but we also have the most advanced shipping industries in the world and we are in the forefront on ocean research and responsible marine resource management.
This visit is of course a symbol of the friendship between our two nations. In addition to having the great honour of meeting President Xi Jinping in the Great Hall of the People, the Royal Couple will have an extensive program covering many areas of Sino-Norwegian cooperation like culture, business and trade, winter sports, environmental sustainability and welfare and social sciences. Through this visit, we also hope the Chinese people will get to know us better.
In Beijing and Shanghai there will be business forums bringing Chinese and Norwegians together for discussions on a variety of topics, including environmental sustainability, maritime, new technologies and smart cities. I can already tell you that we have a record number of Norwegian business travelling on an official business visit to a foreign country.
Norway is a strong winter sports nation and our athletes brought home a record number of medals at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang 2018. Sports and outdoor activities are an important part of Norwegian people’s daily life. The Sino-Norwegian cooperation is already strong, and increase further in the years leading up to the Olympic Games in Beijing. As a passionate sportsman, his Majesty the King is looking forward to witness sports activities in Beijing and is particularly curious about Chinese skiers.
Welfare has been an important part of our bilateral cooperation, especially in the area of welfare technology due to an aging population in both our countries. The Nordic welfare model attracts great interest and praise internationally. We are very much looking forward to hear the King’s speech on social welfare at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).
Several representatives from the Norwegian government will accompany their Majesties, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Trade and Industry. In addition, Vice Ministers from the Ministry of Climate and Environment, Health and Care Services, the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and from the Ministry of Education and Research will be part of the delegation. A large business delegation and representatives for culture, sports and research and higher education will also be part of the visit.
Again, l am very glad to announce the visit and we all look forward to welcome their Majesties the King and Queen on a State Visit to China.
Geir O. Pedersen
Norwegian Ambassador to China