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Visit by China’s Chief of Staff Warms Up Ties with Israel

China’s top general flew into Israel Sunday for a rare visit that will include observing the IDF’s Urban Warfare Training Center.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 8/14/2011, 3:18 PM

China’s Chief of Staff, General Chen Bingde, flew into Israel Sunday for a rare visit that will include observing the IDF’s Urban Warfare Training Center. Chen will meet with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who visited Beijing in June, and with IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz.

The general also will visit the Western Wall and the Yad VaShem Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Relations between Israel and China have improved markedly since the United States in the past decade interfered with arms deals, one of which was the sale of advanced Falcon spy planes and spare parts for Israeli-built drones.

The Falcon planes included American-made technology, and Israeli military exports to China are under an eagle American eye to make sure they do not include American systems.

However, the visit does not necessarily mean there will be an immediate breakthrough in arms sales, according to the China News Daily.

A visit to Israel in May by the admiral of the Chinese navy signaled a thaw in relations. Israel will the last stop of a three-nation trip by General Bingde, whose tour also brought him to Russia and Ukraine.

Israel also is hoping that it can persuade not to back Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ bid for United Nations recognition of the PA as an independent state based on its territorial and political demands.