China visit

Wang’s official visit reflects “the growing ties between China and Israel,” Netanyahu declared.

By: United with Israel Staff

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara on Monday hosted Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem.

Netanyahu and Wang, who is the most senior Chinese official to visit Israel since 2000, held a working dinner together with their entourages to kick off the vice president’s four-day official state visit

Prior to their meeting, Netanyahu noted that Wang’s visit is “the most important visit by a Chinese leader in the last 18 years. It’s a sign of our growing friendship.”

“The fact that the Vice President of China came to Israel at my invitation for the Prime Minister’s Innovation Conference is a tremendous compliment to Israel and a reflection of the growing ties between China and Israel. And I look forward to our discussions,” Netanyahu added.

The two leaders will chair the fourth meeting of the Israel-China Innovation Conference in a Government to Government (G2G) format at the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday.

The two countries are slated to sign eight joint agreements in science and technology, life sciences, innovation, digital health and agriculture. Netanyahu and Wang will also finalize the conference’s new multi-year plan.

The innovation conference meets annually alternatively in Jerusalem and Beijing and advances cooperation between government officials from Israel and China, joint projects involving the private sector, joint research in science and industry, and grants scholarships for Israeli and Chinese students.

Mutual trade, which stood at $50 million when relations were established in 1992, has now reached more than $11 billion. China is Israel’s third-largest trade partner in the world and its largest partner in Asia; more than a third of hi-tech investments in Israel during the past year came from China.

Israel and China: ‘Deep-Rooted Ancient Heritages’

Wang visited the Kotel, Jerusalem’s Western Wall, in the Old City, and followed the tradition of inserting a note in the Wall, with the word “peace” written on his.

Gilad Cohen, Deputy Director General for Asia and the Pacific at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tweeted that Israel and China “are two unique nations – modern civilizations endowed with deep-rooted ancient heritages.”

The strong link between the Israeli and Chinese peoples is an ancient one, dating from the Jewish community in Kaifeng a thousand years ago, Israel’s foreign ministry pointed out. Jewish communities prospered also in Harbin, Tianjin and Shanghai, where thousands of Jews found refuge from the Nazis during the Holocaust.

“The relations between the two peoples, then and now, were and still are based on mutual appreciation and respect. Both peoples come from ancient cultures that succeeded in preserving their unique character and their moral heritage throughout thousands of years of history,” the ministry stated in January 2017.

Israel recognized the People’s Republic of China in January 1950, the first state in the Middle East to do so. Nevertheless, diplomatic relations were only established in January 1992. Since then, the two states have enjoyed cooperation in a variety of areas, reaching new heights in recent years.