Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, attends the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, January 18, 2017. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich(reuters_tickers)
OSLO (Reuters) - Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg will travel to China next week to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping, Norway said on Friday, the first visit by a Norwegian premier since the countries resumed diplomatic relations in December.
Until then relations between Oslo and Beijing had been on ice due to the award of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.
"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," Solberg said in a statement.
The trip will take place April 7-10. Solberg will meet President Xi and Prime Minister Li Keqiang, as well as other officials.
China's foreign ministry separately confirmed the visit would take place.
(Reporting by Gwladys Fouche, additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing, editing by Terje Solsvik)