Chairman of the Nobel Committee Thorbjoern Jagland looks down at the reserved vacant chair of Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo (portrait at left), in Oslo, December 10, 2010. Photo: AFP

Norway and China on Monday normalized diplomatic and political ties, frozen since 2010 when Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Boerge Brende said the two countries would immediately resume negotiations on a free-trade deal.

“Through meticulous and numerous conversations, the two sides have over the last years reached a level of trust that allows for resumption of a normal relationship,” they said in a joint statement in Oslo.

Liu, 59, a dissident involved in the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests crushed by the Chinese army, was jailed for 11 years in 2009 on subversion charges for organizing a petition urging an end to one-party rule. He remains in prison.

Shares of Norwegian salmon exporters, which have largely been shut out of the lucrative Chinese market, rose on Monday.

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