In Jerusalem, Israel and China Seek to Strengthen Ties
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Wednesday, in ongoing efforts to strengthen the political connection between the two countries.
"My visit to China and your visit here today in Jerusalem express the determination of our two governments to form even stronger friendships between our two countries and much stronger cooperation," Netanyahu stated, in an official press briefing with Yi.
"Our strengths, I believe, complement one another. China has massive industrial and global reach; Israel has expertise in every area of high technology; and I think that the combination could be very beneficial to China and of course to Israel."
Among the areas Netanyahu mentioned for collaboration included agriculture, water management, global transportation and healthcare - not just hi-tech.
The Prime Minister also stressed another regional issue: the importance of maintaining a hard stance against a nuclear Iran.
"We believe that for the peace of the world, for the peace of the coming years and decades, Iran must be denied the capability – I stress the word – the capability to develop nuclear weapons," the Prime Minister stated.
"It must fully comply with UN Security Council resolutions. It must end all enrichment, dismantle its centrifuges, eliminate all stockpiles of enriched uranium and dismantle its heavy water reactor in Arak so that it will not be able to produce plutonium."
"I think that this is something that the international community in its entirety must stand firm on," he concluded.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi responded positively. "It gives me great pleasure to come to Israel," Yi began, noting that this is his first time visiting the Jewish State.
"I have first and foremost come to Israel for the furtherance of friendship between our two countries," Yi stated. "Indeed, there is a profound traditional friendship between people of our two countries."
"Our two economies are highly complementary, and the mutually beneficial cooperation between us enjoys a very bright future. During your visit to China this year, Mr. Prime Minister, you reached a very important agreement with President Xi Jinping, and Premier Li Keqiang of China on how to further deepen the mutually beneficial cooperation between our two countries."
Yi referred to a deal struck between Netanyahu and Chinese officials to establish a task force for economic growth between the two countries. "I have come to explore with my Israeli counterpart on how to further implement all the important consensus and explore the various areas of even stronger cooperation between us so as to deliver greater benefits to both peoples."
Israel has stepped up efforts to create economic ties with China in recent months. Both Netanyahu and Economics Minister Naftali Bennett visited the Asian superpower earlier this year and reported great success. Bennett noted that not only did China express great interest in working with Israel's hi-tech industry, but also that they had no interest in getting involved in Israeli-Arab political affairs.
But the burgeoning friendship is not without its complications.
Just yesterday, the family of an American killed in a Palestinian terrorist attack accused the Israeli government of "sabotaging" a lawsuit against the Bank of China - which is accused of facilitating the transfer of funds for terrorist groups - due to Chinese government pressure.
According to the Wultz family, whose 16 year old son Daniel was killed in a 2006 Tel Aviv suicide bombing by Islamic Jihad, Netanyahu agreed to pull a key witness in return for a lucrative visit to China in May with his family.