Following up with the report on ScandAsia on Monday, Norway’s attempts at conciliation on diplomatic stalemate between China and Norway, including the absence of Norwegian officials at the opening of the provocative Ai Weiweui exhibit at Kistefos Museum last Sunday, seem to function. China recently sent the new Ambassador Zhao Jun to Oslo, amending favourable relations between the two countries.
The arrival of new Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jun is said to have occurred nearly as suddenly as the departure of Tang, reportedly necessitating special arrangements to squeeze Tuesday’s ceremony at the palace into King Harald’s schedule. Norwegian officials, though, were keen to accommodate their Chinese counterparts, welcoming any opportunity to ease relations after more than a year and a half of conflict.
Diplomatic relations between Norway and China have been frozen since the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo in 2010.
China’s former ambassador to Norway, Tang Guoqiang, abruptly left his post earlier this year without going through the customary formality of meeting Norway’s King Harald V in what the Norwegians call an avskjedsaudiens, a short and highly ceremonial farewell procedure held at the Royal Palace.
The arrival of a new ambassador is thus viewed as a favourable move, and perhaps a sign of what one local diplomat called ‘a fresh start’ for renewed diplomatic relations not only between Norway and China but between the Chinese Embassy and other embassies in Norway, which also have felt the strain since the Nobel Peace Prize was announced