‘I am very pleased that we are now normalising our political and diplomatic relations with China. The visit reflects the fact that both countries wish to re-establish our long-standing, broad and forward-looking cooperation. Direct contact with the Chinese leadership is important to ensure a robust, predictable relationship based on mutual interests, trust and understanding,’ said Prime Minister Erna Solberg.
This will be the first visit to China by a Norwegian prime minister for 10 years. The official programme includes meetings with President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Zhang Dejiang, as well as an official welcome ceremony and banquet, which will be hosted by Premier Li.
Ms Solberg will be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende, Minister of Trade and Industry Monica Mæland, and the largest delegation of representatives from the Norwegian business sector that has ever taken part in an official visit by a prime minister. In addition to the political meetings, business seminars and lectures at Peking University in Beijing, the delegation will also visit Shanghai and Hangzhou. Here the programme will include cooperation between local actors and Norway, business cooperation, and cooperation on the Arctic, the environment and research and education. Other items on the agenda are the UN Sustainable Development Goals and a visit to the Jack Ma Foundation.
‘China is our largest trading partner in Asia. The normalisation of our relations will create major opportunities for Norwegian businesses and for job creation. We also hope to resume negotiations on a free trade agreement with China,’ Ms Solberg said.
The visit will be an opportunity to build relations with the leaders of the world’s second largest economy and a key global actor. An important objective of the visit is to increase the visibility of Norwegian companies and highlight areas where the Norwegian and Chinese business sectors could benefit from closer cooperation. The Prime Minister will also make use of the visit to discuss issues of relevance for her work as Co-chair of the Sustainable Development Goal Advocates.
The business delegation is being organised by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries in cooperation with Innovation Norway.