As “China week” continues in Israel, a Chinese official, Yongjie Chen, granted an interview yesterday to David Shamah of the Times of Israel.
Chen told Shamah of China’s warming relations towards Israel in recent years and declared that Israel is “the best place in the world for China to invest:”
“It’s true that, in the past, the government favored the Arab side more, but in recent years the emphasis of the government has been on rapid technology development,” said Chen, “and that is why cooperation with Israel, which has that technology, is growing.” Chen could not promise that China would always vote Israel’s way on UN Security Council resolutions, “but you can see that, in recent years, we have conducted a much more positive political policy towards Israel.”
Chen and nearly two dozen other Chinese government officials were here for the first-ever Israel-China Economic Summit. Nearly all of them were in Israel for the first time, taking in the sights and scenery of the Start-Up Nation and shopping around for technologies they can take home to help solve China’s manifold problems. The summit was attended by several MKs, including Robert Ilatov, David Rotem and Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir, and was organized by a group called the Israel China Interflow Association (ICIA).
The growing commercial ties between Israel and China reflect a confluence of interests. In particular, China is looking for help dealing with its environmental problems. Chen Gang, the mayor of Xianghe City, near Beijing, said, “environmental technology, water technology and renewable energy systems are very important to us,” and was impressed with what he saw in Israel. Similarly, Chen said, “I knew Israel was a leader in technology, and I also knew it’s accomplishments were out of character for a nation of its size, with the kind of technology you would expect only in bigger countries, but you have to come to Israel to understand what the term ‘Start-Up Nation’ really means.”
Asia is projected to become Israel’s second leading trading partner this year. One component of that increase has been Israel’s “high-tech diplomacy” with Asian countries. In addition to China Israel has been cultivating its ties with Japan. Israel’s ties with India are expected to grow with the recent election of Narendra Modi as Prime Minister.
[Photo: IsraeliPM / YouTube ]