Israel and China signed a Memorandum of Understanding, agreeing to further cooperation between their respective legislative bodies and expanding the ever-growing relationship between the two countries.

Zhang Dejiang, the chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, and Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Tuesday in which they agreed to deepen the cooperation between the two legislative bodies and share knowledge related to legislation, the “Green Knessetproject and more.

The National People`s Congress is the national legislature of the People`s Republic of China.

“Your visit today and the signing of the memorandum are proof of the close relations between our countries,” Edelstein said following a ceremony in the Knesset`s Chagall Hall. “Despite the geographical and cultural differences, and, of course, the difference in the size of the population, both countries share a deep commitment to their several–thousand-year-old tradition and history.”

Edelstein noted the increased cooperation between Israel and China in several fields, including innovation, renewable energy and the environment.

He further mentioned that next year the countries will mark 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between them. Both parliaments will formulate a joint work plan to mark the event.

Dejiang said cooperation between Israel and China should be prioritized. “Until now, the cooperation between the countries has yielded good achievements,” he said. “There is a brave friendship between our governments. Israel is a superpower in the fields of innovation and renewable energy, and in China there is a very large market, so both countries have a lot to offer one another.”

The chairman of the Chinese parliament noted that since the opening of direct flights between China and Israel, the number of Chinese tourists in Israel increased by 40%.

Forging Close Ties

Member of Knesset (MK) Erel Margalit, who heads the Israel-China Parliamentary Friendship Group, told Dejiang and the other members of the Chinese delegation that the ”immense power and capabilities of the Chinese people may help connect the young generations in our region.”

He said with a smile that even if only half a percent of the Chinese population would visit Israel, the country’s economy would flourish and prosper.

During his visit to China a few months ago, Knesset Speaker Edelstein invited Dejiang to visit the Knesset in order to sign a cooperation agreement between the two parliaments. Edelstein addressed Israel’s wish to cooperate with China on various issues related to the environment, renewable energy, agriculture and anything else that may contribute to peace and stability in both countries.

He told his counterpart that in light of China’s contacts with Arab countries, he would appreciate China’s assistance in promoting cooperation between Israel and its neighbors.

Dejiang, for his part, spoke of China`s role in saving Jews during World War Two, and Edelstein said the Jewish nation and the State of Israel were grateful to the Chinese people for these efforts.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel