On the eve of the 15th anniversary of the establishment of
China-Israel diplomatic ties, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert
said on Friday that the development of bilateral relations is
exciting and promising.
Olmert is expected to visit China this month, which marks the
15th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Israel,
from Jan. 9 to 11.
In an interview with Xinhua in Jerusalem, Olmert said that he
wanted to further promote cooperation in industry and business, and
to increase the volume of trade between the two countries.
"The volume of trade in the last year is US$3 billion. One and a
half years ago, the two sides jointly declared that the target in
2008 is a trade volume of 5 billion dollars. I am looking forward
to it. I am sure it will happen," he said.
He said both countries would benefit from developing their
"We sell to China many different items, and we buy from China a
lot. The expansion is in many different areas... I have some
complaints from Israelis. They said the Chinese are competitive. So
I said the Chinese are good, they are competitive, we have to give
them a chance, and we have to get a chance from them," Olmert
He stressed that China is not only a big economic power, but an
important country which plays a significant role in some regional
and global issues. He welcomed China's increasing participation in
the Middle East and expected it to strengthen the regional
stability and peace.
"Anything China can contribute to facilitate the political
dialogue is something Israel will always welcome," Olmert said.
On his forthcoming visit to China, the Israeli prime minister
said he would exchange views with the Chinese leaders on the
regional and international issues of common concern.
Israel is going to open a new representative office in the
Guangdong Province of China.
As a son of former Jewish residents in China, Olmert said he had
a spiritual tie with the Asian country and its northern city of
Harbin. He showed a framed photo of his parents, which was taken in
Harbin before they left for the Middle East.
"This is a picture of my parents in Harbin in the 1930s... So I
have Chinese background. China is the country which hosted my
parents. They studied in China. They spoke Chinese. They grew up in
China and the Chinese culture is part of my heritage and part of my
earliest memory as a young kid in the state of Israel," Olmert
"So China is not another country for me. China is very much a
part of my family heritage and memory of my family. And we have
great love for the Chinese people. And we feel a lot of
gratefulness for the Chinese people for the very warm and friendly
manner in which they treated Jewish people both in Shanghai and in
Harbin," he added.
Olmert said he will definitely one day visit Harbin, where he
believed he would receive a warm reception.
(Xinhua News Agency January 6, 2007)