China and Norway said Monday that they would normalize diplomatic relations, six years after the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the imprisoned democracy advocate Liu Xiaobo opened a rift between the nations.

Neither country explained the timing of the normalization of ties, but analysts said that Norway is hoping to revive talks on a trade deal that stalled after the Nobel committee awarded the 2010 prize to Liu.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende made a surprise visit to Beijing and met with Premier Li Keqiang and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

"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, which made no reference to Liu nor to human rights.

Liu was arrested in December 2008. Now 60, he has been serving an 11-year prison sentence for "inciting subversion of state power" by organizing a petition urging an end to one-party rule.

The Nobel Committee — independent of the government — awarded the prize to Liu for "his long and nonviolent struggle for fundamental human rights in China."

new york times