With energy high on agenda, China’s no.3 leader visits Norway

OSLO (Reuters) – With energy projects high on the agenda, China and Norway will mark a further thaw in relations on Wednesday when Beijing’s third-ranked politician arrives in Oslo.

The four-day visit by Li Zhanshu, who heads the National People’s Congress, is the most high-profile by a Chinese official since the two countries restored full diplomatic ties three years ago.

The trip, during which Li will meet top politicians and company executives, is also an acknowledgement that Beijing, in the midst of a trade war with Washington, is on the search for new allies.

Relations between Oslo and Beijing were frozen between 2010 and 2016 after the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who died of liver cancer in 2017.

Li will on Thursday meet executives of, among others, oil firm Equinor and telecom firm Telenor, which has a large Asian operation.

The around 20-strong business delegation accompanying him includes executives from Huawei Technologies Co Ltd, under scrutiny in the West after Washington told its allies not to use its technology because of fears it could be a vehicle for Chinese spying. Huawei has categorically denied this.

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