China, Norway vow to safeguard multilateralism, free trade

BEIJING: Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday met with visiting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Norway Espen Barth Eide in Beijing, with the two sides vowing to safeguard multilateralism and free trade.

Noting Eide is the first European foreign minister to visit China in 2024, Wang, who is also member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said Eide’s visit shows the importance Norway attaches to China and the fact that relations between the two countries are maintaining forward momentum.

He said Norway is a uniquely influential European country and one of the first Western countries to establish diplomatic relations with New China.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Norway. Wang believes that after 70 years of development, Sino-Norwegian relations have become more mature and resilient, and have maintained a strong endogenous momentum.

China appreciates the Norwegian government’s objective, rational and friendly view of China’s development, its adherence to the one-China principle and its friendship with China, he added.

The Chinese foreign minister pointed out that the world has entered a new period of turbulence and change, and the global political, economic and security situation is full of uncertainties.

“Human society is at a critical crossroads,” said Wang.

China believes that the overall direction of pursuing peace and development will not change, the overall dynamics of human civilization moving forward and the overall trend toward a shared future for the international community will not change, he told Eide.

Although China and Norway are geographically part with different national conditions and systems, the two countries should be the forces of stability, peace and prosperity in the international community.

He called on the two sides to insist on frank communication, pragmatically promote cooperation, steadily deal with differences and jointly inject more certainty, stability and positive energy into the world.

For promoting the next stage’s development of Sino-Norwegian relations, Wang highlighted the importance of upholding the right way to get along with each other, respecting the choices of two sides’ respective people, and taking care of each other’s core interests and major concerns.

He also urged efforts to deepen practical cooperation, strengthen multilateral collaboration, advocate multilateralism, adhere to openness and inclusiveness, and jointly promote peace and prosperity in the world.

Eide, for his part, said that after 70 years of development, Sino-Norwegian relations have entered a mature stage.

The Norwegian side firmly adheres to the one-China policy and advocates mutual respect and constructive dialogue to promote greater development of relations between the two countries, so as to jointly build a universal and inclusive, peaceful and prosperous world, he noted.

Eide, also reinforced Norway’s commitment to promote free trade, adhere to openness and cooperation, and defend WTO rules.

The Norwegian foreign minister also believes that the two sides have broad space for cooperation in areas such as green transformation, adding his country is willing to work with China to address global challenges such as climate change.

China’s great achievements in poverty eradication are admirable and have made important contributions to the global poverty reduction cause, Eide added.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi holds talks with Norwegian counterpart Espen Barth Eide in Beijing, China, February 5, 2024. /Chinese Foreign Ministry

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi holds talks with Norwegian counterpart Espen Barth Eide in Beijing, China, February 5, 2024. /Chinese Foreign Ministry

The two sides agreed to hold a series of activities to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, close high-level exchanges between the two countries, continue to deepen practical cooperation in various fields, explore the establishment of a bilateral dialogue on cooperation in green transformation, and push forward the facilitation of people-to-people exchanges.

The also vowed to jointly advocate multilateralism and free trade, and strengthen collaboration in dealing with climate change, the protection of biodiversity and other common challenges. The two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on the recent situation in the Middle East.

According to the statement released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the two sides agreed on the need for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, allowing for a substantial increase in humanitarian assistance, the need for all parties to work together to prevent a spillover of the conflict and the call for the immediate release of all detainees.

Both sides welcomed the investigations carried out by the United Nations and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. At the same time, the Agency should be allowed to continue its vital humanitarian work in Gaza and the region, and donor countries were urged not to suspend their support to the Agency, the statement read.

Both sides also agreed on the need to strengthen support for the Palestinian National Authority and on the importance of starting a political process leading to a two-state solution in which both the Israeli and the Palestinian peoples could live in peace and security.

They both expressed concern about the spillover of the rising situation in the Middle East and agreed to continue to maintain communication.

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