Svein Ole Sæther, Norway’s ambassador to China, has been in his post for nine years, writes Aftenposten, partly because the Norwegian government fears China would delay or refuse to approve a successor. Norwegian ambassadors usually stay in their posts for four years, with a 68 year ‘age limit’ (which Sæther is reaching this year).
Norway has gone to some lengths to try and improve relations with China, but the (nominally unofficial) boycott imposed after the award of the 2010 peace Nobel prize to Liu Xiaobo 刘晓波 is still underway. The boycott has created a peculiar dynamics where Norwegian businesses and academics are punished by Beijing while projects seen to help further Chinese interests are allowed to go ahead unimpeded. Sichuan Road and Bridge’s participation in the construction of the Hålogaland bridge, a major infrastructure project in the Arctic of potential significance for Chinese construction companies in Europe, has faced no visible obstructions from the Chinese government.