Oslo and Beijing resume diplomatic relations, forgetting Liu Xiaobo

The great writer and dissident is serving an 11-year sentence for "subversion of state power." His wife is under house arrest. Norway and China resume talks in order to achieve free trade.

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Norway and China have resumed diplomatic relations, the Norwegian Foreign Ministry announced on Monday.

Ties between the two countries had been cut in 2010 when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to dissident writer Liu Xiaobo.

Liu is considered one of the drafters of Charter 08, a manifesto in favour of China’s democratisation and human rights signed by thousands of prominent people in China. He was sentenced in 2009 to 11 years in prison for "subversion of state power."

His wife Liu Xia has been under house arrest without trial and has often been denied the right to visit her husband.

Before the award ceremony, China threatened trade and diplomatic reprisals against Oslo.

Chinese authorities have also threatened Liu's family and friends against collecting the prize.

The ceremony took place with an empty chair, on which the award’s motivation had been placed, next to a photo of Liu Xiaobo (pictured).

At the time, Norway and China were engaged in discussions over a free trade agreement, which were discontinued.

“I am very pleased that we are today normalising our political and diplomatic relations with China,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende said in a statement.

“This gives us a new opportunity to cooperate. We will resume negotiation on a free trade agreement,” he added.