King Harald and Queen Sonja meet China’s President Xi Jinping

Tuesday began when King Harald and Queen Sonja attended a seminar on the economic partnership between Norway and China. His Majesty the King opened the business seminar “Norway-China Business Summit 2018: Pioneering Sustainable Solutions”. During the symposium, 24 new cooperation agreements between Norway and China were signed in the presence of Their Majesties.

During the King’s opening speech, His Majesty said: “The maritime sector is still a cornerstone of our economic relations. However, today the maritime industry is not only about the transport of goods. It is a driver of global innovation and technology development. Norway and China are grasping new opportunities and working together to develop safer, greener and more efficient solutions for the future”.

Following the seminar, the royals went on to a book launch. The King and Queen were present at the launch of the book “Edward Munch – Total paintings” in Chinese. Then, it was time for political talks. The King and Queen had a meeting with the leader of the People’s Congress, Parliamentary President Li Zhanshu in the People’s Great Hall.

King Harald and President of China during the ceremony. Photo: Trond Viken / The Royal Norwegian Ministry for Fishery and Economics via Flickr.

There was a warm tone between the King and the President. Photo: Trond Viken / The Royal Norwegian Ministry for Fishery and Economics via Flickr.

Following the meeting, King Harald and Queen Sonja were welcomed by the President of China, Xi Jinping and First Lady Peng Liyuan in a solemn ceremony at the People’s Great Hall in Beijing. King Harald and Queen Sonja laid down a wreath before inspecting soldiers in the honour guard of the People’s Liberation Army together with China’s President Xi Jinping during the official welcome ceremony outside the People’s Great Hall in Beijing.

China President Xi Jinping took the opportunity to congratulate the royal couple on their golden wedding anniversary when he received them. “This year is the gold wedding ceremony of Your Majesties. In China, we believe that a beloved couple, who are living their lives, will live a long time. Let me take the opportunity to send my sincere congratulations and wish you good health and success”, said the President.

Embed from Getty Images
Embed from Getty Images

“In China, we call October for ‘the Golden Month’. Since 2016, Norway and China have built mutual trust and strengthened cooperation in areas such as culture, the Arctic and tourism. This visit helps to renew our friendship”, said President Xi Jinping. King Harald thanked the President for the invitation to the state visit. His Majesty pointed out that the invitation came on 21 February this year, and that was very special because that is the King’s birthday. “Is there any better birthday gift than to be here today?” he joked.

His Majesty also invited China’s President to Norway on a state visit to which President Jinping agreed. The Chinese Department of Foreign Affairs has publicly stated that they accept the invitation and are working to find a time to have the Chinese President to travel on to Norway. Most likely, this will happen sometime next year. The King and Queen ended the day by attending a banquet given by President Xi Jinping and Mrs Peng Liyuan on the occasion of the state visit.

About author

Senior Europe Correspondent Oskar Aanmoen has a master in military and political history of the Nordic countries. He has written five books on historical subjects and more than 700 articles for Royal Central. He has also interview both Serbian and Norwegian royals. Aanmoen is based in Oslo, Norway.