His Majesty King Harald and Her Majesty Queen Sonja of Norway have been invited to conduct a state visit to China. The visit may take place in the autumn of 2018, if it is appropriate for the Chinese government, said Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg today to reporters.
This became evident when Prime Minister Erna Solberg met with the Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing this Monday. “We are now working to find a date that suits both parties,” said Solberg, and the Norwegian Royal Court has indicated that the fall of 2018 fits in the schedule for King Harald and Queen Sonja. There are parliamentary elections in Norway in the autumn of 2017; therefore, no state visits to Norway are planned during that time. It is likely that the King and Queen will not travel on any more state visits this year to not steal attention from the upcoming elections.
In his greeting on the King’s 80th birthday in February, the President of China wrote, “Welcome to China.” The talks with President Xi Jinping is the highlight of Prime Minister Solberg’s four-day visit to China. The visit is the first for a Norwegian prime minister to China in ten years. King Harald and Queen Sonja have not been to China since their state visit to the country in 1997, and the last time a Chinese president was on a state visit to Norway was in 1996.
A three-day state visit from Iceland to Norway was recently concluded, where the Norwegian Royal Family served as hosts. You can read more about this state visit here.
King Harald has, in his 26 years as King, conducted only one state visit to China. He has also hosted only one state visit from China. Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s trip to China was the reason why the King held a State Council last Wednesday instead of on Friday. This was highly unusual and has not happened in many years.