By Jonathan Benedek
President Reuven Rivlin met with Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong on Tuesday, and the two officials focused on strengthening bilateral relations and cooperation between Israel and China in science and technology.
“You have an important and central role in relations between Israel and China and it is important for us to have you here and to talk about deepening and expanding the relationship,” Rivlin said in his greetings to Liu. “I want to extend my great appreciation to the president and prime minister of China.”
The visiting vice premier extended similar feelings for Israel’s president. “You have always contributed to the warm relationship between Israel and China and to the highlighting of its importance and we appreciate it very much,” Liu told Rivlin.
“Israel is an important country in the Middle East and is unique in in its region,” Liu said, adding “China takes Israel very seriously.”She committed to further developing the Israel-China relationship during her visit.
“An important task during my visit is to chair the first Israel-China Innovation Conference together with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” Liu said. “We will sign agreements on education, culture, science, health, technology, and in many other spheres, later on in my visit.”
Although ties between Israel and China have significantly grown in recent years in light of Israel’s pivot towards eastern markets, China occasionally votes in favor of Palestinian initiatives at the UN to the objection of Israel.
President Rivlin emphasized, however, that occasional disagreements between Israel and China do not hinder or interfere with the bilateral ties between the countries.
“China plays an important role in the world and has great influence in the Middle East,” noted Rivlin. “We are delighted to deepen the relations between the two countries and there is no doubt that from time to time we can agree to disagree.”