Monday, May 19, 2014
Israel And China Sign New Agreement To Increase Trade, Cooperation
Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and Chinese Vice premier Liu Yandon signed a new agreement between China and Israel to increase ties, trade and economic cooperation.
The two gave a joint press conference today in Jerusalem:
Netanyahu began by welcoming Liu, and praising the "great success and growth of the Israeli-Chinese cooperation and relationship." He noted that the relationship continues to grow.
"A year ago, I visited China," he began. "I had excellent meetings with President Xi and Premier Li."
"We have expanded our cooperation in many ways," he continued. "China is Israel's largest trading partner in Asia and fast becoming perhaps Israel's largest trading partner period as we move into the future."
"We see the great success of China," he reflected. "We admire China and we think there are complementary things that Israel brings to this relationship. One of them is innovation."
Netanyahu then noted that the meeting is not only symbolic, but a practical move to sign an agreement increasing cooperation between China and Israel.
"What we're going to sign today is an agreement for expanding innovation in cooperative efforts between our two countries - and equally our Health Minister will sign an agreement to help advance our cooperation in times of emergencies," he said. "This is one of many, many things that we're doing together and I think the possibilities are limitless."
Vice Premier Liu Yandon, on her very first trip to Israel was equally enthusiastic in her remarks, and revealed an interesting personal connection to Israel and the Jewish people:
"I want to thank your government's gracious invitation for me to come to this beautiful country that has a time-honored history and beaming with vitality," she began. "And I also want to convey the best greetings from myself and the Chinese government through the media to the government and people of Israel."
"As you rightly pointed out, Mr. Prime Minister, our two peoples are rooted in a tradition of friendship," she continued. "The Jewish and the Chinese peoples are peoples of great wisdom. We bracket Asia and we respectively created our splendid cultures that stretch thousands of years of history. And we both made enormous contributions to human civilization. Yesterday afternoon I visited the Israel Museum and also the Old City of Jerusalem and I was so amazed at the beauty of this country."
Liu also added a historical aspect to Netanyahu's observations - specifically, the special role of Shanghai for the Jews during the Second World War.
"Especially during the Second World War, we fought shoulder to shoulder against the world's fascism and we stood together through the dark time," Liu stated. "I spent 18 years in Shanghai. Actually, everywhere in Shanghai people tell the good stories of harmonious coexistence between the Chinese people and Jewish people."
Liu has a particular connection to the Jewish community in Shanghai.
"I want to mention in particular here that in 1942, a Jewish doctor by the name of Jacob Rosenfeld came to a place in Shanghai where my father fought against the Japanese aggressors," she stated. "And Dr. Rosenfeld and his team members saved the lives of thousands of Chinese people. This is a group photo of Dr. Rosenfeld and this is my father here, and one of the founding generals of China, General Xin Yi, named Dr. Rosenfeld as one of the heroes against Japanese aggression. Unfortunately in 1952, when Dr. Rosenfeld visited Israel, he passed away. So when my father was around, he vowed to visit Israel and to see the hometown of Dr. Rosenfeld to express his appreciation, and his dream was realized by his daughter."
As President Obama's ambition of 'daylight' between America and Israel becomes more pronounced, Israel and China's relationship has warmed and the two countries have developed increasingly closer ties on trade, joint projects and security.
In many ways, the two countries are a natural fit. Israel's advances in irrigation, bio-science and technology and high tech are important to a country like China that is still a developing nation in many areas, and an oil and gas hungry China is also interested in Israel 's major energy resources. China is already Israel's chief trading partner in Asia as Netanyahu noted, and along with India can be expected to eclipse the EU as trade partners for Israel in the future. And the harbors and commercial railways Israel and China are now constructing linking Israel's Red Sea port of Eilat with its Mediterranean ports of Ashdod, Ashkelon and Haifa will change the nature of container shipping trade between Asia and the West, providing a cheaper and more stable alternative to the Suez Canal.
The two countries also share a number of cultural affinities as both Netanyahu and Liu mentioned, and security cooperation between two non-Muslim countries bracketed by restive Muslim populations is also a win for both nations.
Especially given the new, more pro-Israel government in India, look for the trend of Israel finding new best friends outside the U.S. to continue...yet another legacy of the Obama Regime.