BY CHRISTOPHER BODEEN
BEIJING (AP) — Israel wants to boost cooperation with China in technology, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told China’s premier Monday, as he led a large business delegation on a visit to Beijing to promote commercial ties with the Asian giant.
Netanyahu said in opening remarks at a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang that Israel and China could explore “many ways of technological cooperation.”
Earlier Monday, Netanyahu told a meeting of more than 600 Israeli and Chinese businesspeople that Israel is well-positioned to help China upgrade its products, services and utilities with better technology.
“I think that there is an extraordinary capacity for China to assume its rightful place, as it’s doing, on the world stage,” Netanyahu said.
“We are your perfect junior partner for that effort,” he said, adding that the governments would sign a series of agreements. “I believe this is a marriage made in heaven.”
Netanyahu also met with the heads of large Chinese corporations including the conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, computer maker Lenovo Group and Baidu Inc., an internet search company.
“I told them that in today’s world there are several concentrations of technology, not many; the U.S., Israel, and Israel is open for business with China,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying in a government statement.
During his visit, Netanyahu also is to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping, who will host an official banquet. Netanyahu said the countries would discuss a free trade agreement.
Netanyahu also told Li that he looked forward to discussing the region’s security situation with China. “There is a great deal of convulsion in the world, including in our part of the world and I would like to have the opportunity to exchange views with you and see how we can cooperate together” for stability and peace, he said.
Along with playing a more active diplomatic role in the Middle East, Beijing has also been expanding its security presence in the region, including the building of ties with Iran and Saudi Arabia through joint military drills and port visits. China has also backed the government of President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian conflict.
While deepening its ties with Israel, Beijing continues to maintain support for the Palestinian cause and their bid for statehood, reportedly providing the Palestinian National Authority with financial and technical help and training for Palestinian officials.
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