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Israeli president calls for closer bilateral cooperation with China


21:27, June 18, 2013

by Xinhua writer Yang Zhiwang

JERUSALEM, June 18 (Xinhua) -- Israel and China should strengthen their people-to-people exchanges and expand their cooperation in the fields of agriculture, science and technology, Israeli President Shimon Peres told Xinhua in a recent interview.

While voicing his satisfaction about the development of Israel- China relations, Peres said there is a need for the two countries to promote exchanges between their private sectors and individuals.

"I think we have to develop a relationship of people to people, of scientists to scientists, of companies to companies ... in addition to good relations between our two governments," he said.

China already has a non-governmental sector and there are many big companies in the country, Peres said, adding that he was very glad to be informed by leaders of some Chinese companies that they will come to Jerusalem for the presidential conference, an annual international forum on economic, political and security issues.

"Israel is a great laboratory, since we are small in land, we have to be advanced in science," said the Israeli president, adding Israel is willing to expand cooperation with China in agriculture and science, such as the genetic engineering and brain research projects.

China and Israel established diplomatic ties 21 years ago and their bilateral trade has since increased dramatically to nearly 10 billion U.S. dollars, with China becoming Israel's third largest trading partner globally.

Peres recalled the establishment of a modern farm in China with the help of the Israeli government when he was serving as its foreign minister.

"When I was foreign minister and visited China, I recommended the establishment of the first modern farm in China. It served China's agriculture very well," he said.

Peres, who visited China a number of times, also spoke highly of China's development in the past few decades, saying China has set a model of rebuilding a country once plagued by poverty and war.

"It (China) was divided, it was poor, it was attacked. There was a great deal of intervention of foreign forces," he said. "The lesson from China is that you can overcome all those dangers not by getting foreign aid, and not by getting foreign money, but by mobilizing your own people."

"China has great achievements, but the greatest achievement is that it was done by the Chinese and from an extremely poor country. You elevated yourself to an unbelievable height," he noted, adding that he has suggested many other developing countries learn from China.

"We consider China as a real friend, we have the greatest respect for what you have achieved, not only (because) you saved China but (because) you created a model of saving a country from poverty, war and division," he said. "So for many of us, China is not just a country, but also a model. China has offered some unique solutions for herself that they can be used in other places as well."

Peres praised China for its increased input in education, science and research. "China has doubled the number of its graduates from universities in the last 10 years twice ... and you have increased your budget of education in the last four years two times," he said. "The real wealth of today is people not money."

"China is participating more and more in global research and development ... Tomorrow, China may be an example for wisdom, for togetherness and for openness," Peres predicted.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:Yan Meng、Chen Lidan)

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