Interview: Israel-China cooperation in 30 years of diplomatic ties substantial -- ambassador

(Xinhua) 13:09, January 24, 2022

BEIJING, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Israel and China have witnessed "substantial" bilateral cooperation since they established diplomatic ties 30 years ago, with political, economic, cultural and people-to-people exchanges booming, Israeli Ambassador to China Irit Ben-Abba has said.

"If I look at what we have achieved in 30 years, it's quite substantial," Ben-Abba told Xinhua in a recent interview on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties.

Over the past 30 years, bilateral trade and economic relations have developed at a fast pace, said the ambassador. Data from China Customs showed that bilateral trade volume has grown from 50 million U.S. dollars in 1992 to 22.8 billion dollars in 2021.

Meanwhile, active academic cooperation between universities of the two sides and cultural events held by both countries have largely boosted exchanges and understanding between the two peoples, she added.

In 2017, Israel and China established their innovative comprehensive partnership, which offered a direction for both sides to develop collaboration in sectors including business, technology, health, education, agriculture and environment, the ambassador noted.

Looking to the future, Ben-Abba said such a development momentum in bilateral relations should be maintained and further developed, and people-to-people exchanges be enhanced.

Israel is perceived as a young and innovative country of entrepreneurship, Ben-Abba said, adding that the two countries can work together to develop innovative technologies in such fields as water usage and renewable energy to help confront global challenges like climate change.

Noting that the Jewish nation and the Chinese nation have enjoyed a time-honored friendship, she said, "We should learn more about each other, (about) our histories, our cultures and our traditions, especially for the young generation in both countries. They have to interact more with each other."

Ben-Abba served as the minister of the Israeli embassy in Beijing from 1994 to 1996. The veteran diplomat said she is impressed by China's fast development, especially the infrastructure construction that has built up mobility across the country.

"It is so accessible to everyone. You can get to the most remote places in China in no time, either by a bullet train or an airplane or a very modern bus," she said while recalling her travel experiences in China.

Ben-Abba spoke highly of bilateral cooperation in combating COVID-19, especially information sharing between medical workers and hospitals. She also thanked China for providing assistance when the virus appeared in Israel.

She said she hopes the two countries will join hands to conduct research, work on vaccine and drug development and find appropriate solutions to possible pandemics in the future.

Ben-Abba also wished the upcoming Beijing Winter Olympic Games a success and wished all the Chinese people a Happy Chinese New Year, which falls on Feb. 1. 

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Liang Jun)


Related Stories