China: Hard to Keep Close Ties With Norway

China: Hard to Keep Close Ties With Norway

China says it is hard to maintain "friendly relations" with Norway because of Oslo's open support for the Norwegian Nobel Committee's decision to award this year's Nobel Peace Prize to a Chinese dissident.

China's Foreign Ministry says Norway's support for the award shows a lack of respect for China's judicial sovereignty.

Earlier this week, Norway said no new date had been set for talks with China on a free trade agreement.

China has expressed anger over the Nobel committee's decision to award the peace prize to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, who is serving an 11-year prison sentence. He has written and supported the cause of greater democratic rights in China.

China's government has tried to organize a boycott of the Nobel ceremony, warning of unspecified "consequences" for countries that take part.

Most Western countries plan to attend, and the Nobel committee says the awards ceremony in Oslo on December 10 will proceed even if no one representing Liu can be there.

Thus far, six countries have declined to attend the ceremony. They are China, Russia, Iraq, Kazakhstan, Cuba and Morocco.

Geir Lundestad, secretary of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, has said he does not expect that Liu's wife or other relatives will be allowed to travel from China to Oslo to receive the prize in his name.

Several other Nobel peace laureates have been unable to appear in Norway to receive their awards in the past, including Andrei Sakharov, Lech Walesa and Aung San Suu Kyi. Individuals and organizations alike have been honored during the prize's 109-year history, but there also have been years -- generally during wartime -- when no one received the honor.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters