Analysts said Tuesday that cool relations between China and Norway were very likely to get back on track after a brief meeting between the leaders of the two countries Monday.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao held a brief meeting with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg Monday on the sidelines of an Asia-Europe summit in Laos, AFP reported.
Relations worsened after the Nobel committee awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to Chinese writer Liu Xiaobo in October 2010, who was sentenced to 11 years in jail in 2009 after being convicted of activities aimed at subverting the government.
Stoltenberg said he had thanked Wen for the inclusion of Norway in the Asia-Europe Meeting, saying it was natural to express gratitude toward China for its "support," according to the report.
Norway, along with Switzerland and Bangladesh, attended this year's Asia-Europe Meeting for the first time.
"We would like to have normal political relations with China and when that's possible we will say so," he was quoted as saying by AFP.
Tian Dewen, a researcher with the Institute of European Studies of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times Tuesday that the meeting indicated that top leaders of the two countries had reached a consensus to lay aside the Nobel Peace Prize spat.
"It is against China's interest to let the cooled relations with Norway continue, since good bilateral relations are beneficial to both the countries," he noted.
However, Assistant Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu told reporters last Wednesday that it remained up to Norway to "work for the restoration and development of ties," AP reported.
Chen Zhimin, a professor of European Studies at Shanghai-based Fudan University, told the Global Times more time may be needed to repair a rift that has seen trade exchanges disrupted and political contacts stalled.
According to the Norwegian Seafood Export Council, Norway's export of salmons to China, which has seen a huge blow due to the rift, has seen a 174 percent increase year-on-year in the first seven months of this year.