Promise of oil lures Soviets and Chinese to Norway's front door
Norway is again being wooed by the Soviet Union, in addition to receiving court from a new suitor -- China. Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko recently invited Norwegian Foreign Minister Knut Frydenlund to Moscow for the first time in 13 years. And Chinese Foreign Minister Huang Hua is visiting Oslo June 12 to 15 on his Scandinavian and West German swing.
In his travels Huang Hua is reminding the Scandinavians that their countries have an important strategic role in the world -- and that there are no conflicts between China and Scandinavia. He is warning everyone who will listen against being duped by a phony Soviet peace offensive. And especially in Norway, he will be welcoming offers of offshore-oil technology and know-how.
Mr. Gromyko, too, is smiling at the Norwegians after several months of tension following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He had hoped, according to diplomatic sources in Oslo, that his Norwegian counterpart's visit could take place soon -- before the Olympics, which Norway is boycotting. The Norwegians -- who by protocol should play host rather than guest to the Soviet foreign minister this time around -- set the date of the visit for this coming fall instead.
The Soviet invitation marks a return to the carrot rather than the stick in dealings with its Nordic neighbor.
In February and March the Russians were protesting both the periodic NATO exercises in Norway and an alleged Norwegian military buildup along the 125-mile Norwegian-Soviet border. They also objected to Norway's program for weapons prepositioning, claiming it was a departure from Oslo's policy of not stationing foreign (NATO) troops in Norway in peacetime.
The Norwegians rejected all the charges.They said their 400 token troops on the Soviet border had not been augmented. The NATO exercises, they noted, are held regularly in Norway since it is a member of NATO.