* Beijing says China dissident Nobel would affect Norway
* Nobel official: warning will have "no influence"
* Comments follow Havel's call
By Wojciech Moskwa
OSLO, Sept 27 The head of the Norwegian Nobel
Institute said on Monday that a senior Chinese official told him
that awarding the peace prize to a Chinese dissident would
affect relations between Oslo and Beijing.
Nobel Institute Director Geir Lundestad's comments came
after Czech dissident Vaclav Havel called on the Nobel Peace
Committee to award the prize to jailed Chinese human rights
campaigner Liu Xiaobo.
Lundestad, who organises the meetings of the secretive
five-member Nobel Peace Prize Committee, said China's Deputy
Foreign Minister Fu Ying met him during a visit to Oslo this
summer to deliver the message.
"(Such a decision) would pull the wrong strings in relations
between Norway and China, it would be seen as an unfriendly
act," Lundestad told Norwegian news agency NTB, repeating Fu's
comments during their meeting at the Chinese embassy in Oslo.
Lundestad added that "China has come with warnings before,
but they have no influence on the committee's work."
China's embassy in Oslo was not available for comment.
"We ask the Nobel committee to honour Liu Xiaobo's more than
two decades of unflinching and peaceful advocacy for reform,"
said a letter co-authored by Havel, which was published by the
International Herald Tribune last week.
Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama won the Peace
Prize in 1989, the year of the Tiananmen Square crackdown by
Chinese authorities on protesters.
China and Norway are now engaged in talks over a bilateral
trade deal -- which some say could serve as a blueprint for a
agreement between the Asian superpower and the European Union.
Energy-rich Norway is also keen to export its offshore
exploration knowhow to China, with Norway's national oil and gas
champion Statoil announcing last month that it aimed to look for
shale gas in China.
Norway's Nobel committee is set to announce the winner of
this year's peace prize in Oslo on Oct. 8, capping a week of
prizes given in Stockholm in the name of 19th century Swedish
dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel.