'With the Jewish mind and the Chinese engine, the sky's the limit'
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosts Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Jerusalem • Yi: There is a profound traditional friendship between people of our two countries • Dr. Miriam Adelson: China opened its doors to Jewish refugees of the Holocaust.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Wednesday
Photo credit: GPO
Sheldon Adelson, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Dr. Miriam Adelson and Chinese Ambassador to Israel Gao Yanping in Jerusalem on Wednesday
Photo credit: Dudi Vaaknin
"My visit to China [in May], and your visit today in Jerusalem, showcases the determination our two governments have to strengthen our friendship and improve cooperation between us," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Wang arrived in Israel Tuesday night for a three-day visit. "Our strengths complement one another," Netanyahu said. China has massive industrial and global reach. Israel has expertise in every area of high-tech. And I think the combination could be very, very beneficial to China and of course to Israel. Especially with regards to the fields we are talking about: science and technology, water management, agriculture, green energy and health services. Likewise we want to increase cooperation between us in global transportation. I would like to talk to you about the rail road that will connect Asia and Europe, by going from the port of Eilat on the Red Sea to the Ashdod port on the Mediterranean. I believe this is important to global and Chinese commerce."
Netanyahu highlighted the two countries' shared values. "We both value education and families. We value knowledge and learning. We place importance on taking initiative and being entrepreneurial, something which both Israel and China have in great supply. I think Israel could be a perfect partner for China in research and development."
"It gives me great pleasure to come to Israel," Wang said. "Indeed this is my first trip to this country as Chinese foreign minister. I have first and foremost come to Israel for the furtherance of friendship between our two countries. Indeed there is a profound traditional friendship between people of our two countries."
The Chinese foreign minister echoed Netanyahu's belief that Israel and China's economies are well fitted for one another. "I've also come to pursue stronger cooperation between 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. 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," Wang said.
With regards to Middle East diplomacy. Wang said his country would "continue to play a positive role in the region." Netanyahu tried to rally the Chinese behind a deal to prevent Iran from being able to produce nuclear weapons. "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. It must fully comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions," Netanyahu said.
Wang recalled China's reception of Jews refugees during World War II, when other nations turned them away. "I believe this helped form the basis of the deep and valued friendship between our two countries, such a friendship should only be improved," he said.
Wang praised Netanyahu for initiating the efforts to improve ties with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang. "I came to see how to implement important agreements and evaluate different fields of increased cooperation with my Israeli colleagues, to the benefit of both nations," Wang said.
Israel and China recently agreed to lift the visa requirement for people holding diplomatic passports when traveling between the two countries.
Wang also met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday and expressed hope that the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians bear fruit.
Meanwhile, speaking at a Likud convention Wednesday night, Netanyahu reiterated his stance against the Iranian nuclear threat. "Seventy years after the attempted extermination of our people, comes a leader [in Iran] and says he will destroy the Jews and the Jewish state and is given legitimacy by the world, his spokesmen get a pat on the back. We are not falling to temptation. When someone threatens to exterminate us, we take that threat seriously, and we will not allow Iran to develop military nuclear capability. Mark my words: We will not allow Iran to develop a military nuclear capability. Not only will we not accept a situation in which Iran has the bomb, but we will not accept them being able to manufacture one as well. There is a big difference between the two," he said.
Meanwhile, Yi praised the potential of Sino-Israeli cooperation Wednesday night at a banquet in the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. "With the Jewish mind, and a Chinese engine, we will build a machine that will reach the skies," he said.
During the event, organized by the Chinese embassy in Israel, the Association to Promote Israel-China ties and other Sino-Israeli groups, Wang emphasized the continuously improving ties between the two countries. "There is a Chinese saying -- true friendship only grows. By my understanding, this is the direction our two nations, who share a long history together, are going. Our goal today is to improve the ties between our countries for children and grandchildren's sake."
"I welcome you to Jerusalem, the eternal and united capital of Israel," Dr. Miriam Adelson told Wang at the banquet. "When countries around the world closed their doors to the Jews during the Holocaust, the Chinese people opened their nation's doors, accepted them with open arms and gave the Jews shelter and protection," she said.
Hebrew University President Professor Menachem Ben-Sasson also spoke at the event. "People ask us -- what is the secret to your success? Well, the secret is our daring to ask questions," he said. Ben-Sasson mentioned the university's archive of Albert Einstein's assorted works. "We uploaded his writings to the Internet in different languages, including Chinese; we had 25 million visitors in the first week, half of them from China."