Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping

March 22, 2017 Agencies
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Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has, met with Chinese President Xi Jinping a t the official guest house in Beijing.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chinese President Xi-Jinping Photo: Haim Zac/GPO

Prime Minister Netanyahu told the President: “It’s a pleasure to be here in Beijing again and to see you again, sir. I want to thank you for the extraordinary hospitality you and your government have shown me and my delegation, which includes four ministers.

We have signed many agreements, but I think that your decision to announce a comprehensive innovation partnership between China and Israel is a tremendously important decision, certainly for us in Israel, and I believe through our cooperation, for China as well.

We admire China’s capabilities, its position on the world stage and in history. We have always believed, as we discussed on my previous visit, that Israel can be a partner, a junior partner, but a perfect partner for China in the development of a variety of technologies that change the way we live, how long we live, how healthy we live, the water we drink, the food we eat, the milk that we drink – in every area.

There are vast and rapid changes in technology, which Israel excels in that we believe that we could cooperate in.

We know that you have great scientists, great industrialists, great capabilities, and we think that by working together we can make the future better for our peoples, but also I think for humanity as a whole.

So in this regard, I want to thank you, not only for the friendship you have shown Israel, but for the important strides we are making to make the world a better place for all of us.”

Prior to his meeting with the Chinese President, Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife Sara laid a wreath at the Monument to the People’s Heroes in Tiananmen Square. The Prime Minister then proceeded to the Great Hall of the People where he met with National People’s Congress Standing Committee Chairman Zhang Dejiang and told him, “We have made great strides in the 25 years that we’ve had this friendship. We have come a long way on cooperation about economic possibilities, about the betterment of life. And these are all real things that are happening, and I think it’s a great message to our people, but also to the people of the world.”

Zhang Deijang said that while Israel’s population is only eight million it is a leading global force in technology.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong, and attended the Third Meeting of the China-Israel Joint Committee on Innovation Cooperation. The two held a meeting (with their delegations) in which they discussed the importance of the tight bilateral cooperation in promoting technological innovation.

PM Netanyahu with Chinese Vice-Premier Liu-Yandong

The Committee was also attended by Science Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin and Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen, as well as Prime Minister’s Office Director General Eli Groner, Justice Ministry Director General Emi Palmor and Innovation Authority Chairman Avi Hasson.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong thanked Prime Minister Netanyahu for his personal commitment to the Committee and to advancing bilateral relations in general.

The Chinese Vice Premier said that the Committee, which includes a considerable number of government ministries from both countries, has proven itself and led to practical and important results, including the abovementioned significant agreements which promise increased innovation cooperation between China and Israel. That additional ministries join every meeting indicates the success of the forum. She noted that China has such an innovation framework only with Israel and said that the Committee must continue to be beneficial and even be expanded in coming years.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the framework of the committee is vital for bilateral relations and noted that it joins two additional frameworks – cooperation with the NDRC and the negotiations on a free-trade agreement –which together constitute the heart of bilateral relations: Cooperation in science, initiatives and innovation.

Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked the Chinese Vice Premier for her personal commitment to the success of the forum and emphasized Israel’s commitment to its continuation. He noted that both countries have longstanding traditions and are committed to building societies that promote technology and innovation. He added that China and Israel have three characteristics in common: Ancient cultural traditions, people who are engaged in trade and a desire for excellence and a commitment to constant improvement. Two additional components must be added: Investment in science and innovation, the combination of which ensures the continued prosperity of both countries. Bilateral innovation cooperation is the yeast in the cake of the Israel-China relationship and enables it to increase and rise.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong and Prime Minister Netanyahu noted that their countries have – during the latter’s current visit – agreed to upgrade the Innovative Comprehensive Partnership between them, which will bring raise bilateral cooperation to new heights.

The two leaders noted their satisfaction at the tightening of links and cooperation in academia, as exemplified the presence of university heads at the meeting, the increase in direct flights between the two countries, the ten-year multiple entry visa agreement that took effect last November and the increase in Chinese tourism to Israel.

Benjamin Netanyahu also spoke to the Third Meeting of the China-Israel Joint Committee on Innovation Cooperation.

He said: “The innovation conference is crucial because I believe that innovation is crucial for the future of our countries, indeed for the future of the world.

There was a book that caught my attention when we were looking at the exhibit outside. It was an old book. It goes back many centuries, by one of our great thinkers and teachers, Rambam, Maimonides, and it’s translated into Chinese. Why is it important? Because the first internet, the ‘Jewish internet’, goes back over 1,000 years. We had communities of Jews scattered in various places, some in Europe, some in Yemen, some in Asia, and they would ask questions of the rabbis, of the very big scholars – questions and from generation to generation these questions grew, and sometimes it would take months – months – for a letter, a query, a ‘text message’, to arrive and then several more months until an answer came.

And this was constantly improved. There was, as they say, a cloud of learning and scholarship. We’re always seeking to find new approaches. This Jewish tradition is very much at the heart of what we are doing in the common quest for innovation, in the Israeli contributions to the development of the new economy, the internet economy, and it’s only natural that our two ancient peoples, who have always prized scholarship, learning, will now connect in the modern era to lead the great changes that are taking place.

I believe that the future belongs to those countries that innovate. I believe that there’s no area in our lives that will not be technologized. Everything – everything – is being technologized. Everything – water, air, food, transport, communications, energy. Everything is being technologized by this innovation.

And those countries and those companies that have the edge of innovation are the ones who are going to succeed. Further, I believe that the speed of innovation is increasing constantly, and therefore the need to have systemic policies to encourage innovation is becoming a necessity, a prerequisite for success.

We admit that we have certain capacities in this area, but we think that if we partner with you, we’ll show unbelievable capacities for change and growth and management and industry and global market reach, and I think the combination is very, very powerful.

New industries are created as we speak. As we speak. Since your visit to Israel, which was only recently, we’ve learned that Israel has a car industry. Now, we’ve never really had a car industry. We only produce chassis, engines, tires. We tried once but failed, miserably. But we have a car industry. Our car industry is the autonomous vehicle technology, the ‘brains’ of the car. And we’ve just had Intel, that invests heavily in China but also invests heavily in Israel, invest in one company – one company – $15 billion to buy it, but also when it bought this company of automotive technology, it said: Here, you have the keys for the world, for all our automotive technologies in the world. So Israel is now becoming a center for autonomous driving in the entire world because of innovation. Because of innovation. Now, the same thing is happening with digital health. The same thing is happening in other areas too. I should add that in addition to this particular company that Intel bought for 15 billion dollars, we have 500 companies that do the same thing. A few years ago we had nothing. These are like mushrooms after the rain.

We want to marry our technology with China’s capacities. The ability to have technological exchanges depends on the sustainability of this conference, and we strongly hope that we can continue the work that you began, Adam, in the coming years. Secondly, it depends, I believe, on the work of the NDRC and the Prime Minister’s Office in specific areas of technological cooperation. And third, it depends on the acceleration of the Free Trade Agreement between China and Israel, which by itself is a platform for technology exchanges.

Technology is so valuable today that we all can benefit from it. Israel has benefited a great deal but we understand that we could benefit more to the extent that we could have China realize its extraordinary goals and ambitions to build on its extraordinary success. We want to be your partners.

We think we can be your partners. This forum has shown that we’re well on the right road, and let’s continue on it.”


One Response to “Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping”
  1. Adrian Jackson says:

    The recently well traveled PM of Israel makes one wonder is this to improve foreign relations and trade or is it his swan song before retiring.

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