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Israel and China convene joint innovation committee for first time since 2018

The China-Israel Joint Committee on Innovation Cooperation is meeting virtually, chaired by Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan.

During the meeting, the countries sign a three-year plan to regulate government-to-government cooperation and dialogue until 2024.

The Joint Committee was established in 2014 as a comprehensive bilateral dialogue framework for senior officials. This meeting is the fifth time the committee has met and the first since 2018.

The meeting is part of a series of events marking 30 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and China.

“The Chinese, like the Israelis, are not afraid of new ideas,” Lapid said at the start of the meeting. “There is an inherent curiosity in the character of our two peoples. Give us a new and exciting idea, and we’ll gather around it, discuss it enthusiastically, and immediately examine where it came from and how it can be improved.

Representatives from a number of Israeli government ministries and offices attended the meeting, including Science, Technology and Space Minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen and senior officials from health ministries , Environmental Protection, Culture, Agriculture and Economy, as well as the Innovation Authority. and Patent Office.

U.S. President Joe Biden, left, virtually meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping, onscreen, from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

“Israel and China mark three decades of diplomatic relations characterized by continuous political dialogue, close economic and trade relations and diverse collaborations that bind the two peoples together,” a statement from the Foreign Ministry spokesperson’s office said Monday. . “The volume of trade with China has increased significantly over the 30 years of diplomatic relations and today stands at around 18 billion US dollars. China is one of Israel’s most important trading partners, and the free trade agreement should help increase the volume of trade.

Israel’s moves to strengthen ties with Beijing come as the United States, Israel’s closest ally, increasingly sees China as its main military and economic rival. This reality has forced Jerusalem to seek a balance between its deep commitment to its alliance with the United States and China’s growing importance as a global economic and military power.

Amid a US-China trade war that has been up and down in recent years under the Trump and Biden administrations, China has shown interest in Israeli innovations, particularly in medical technologies, robotics, food technology and artificial intelligence.

Washington’s main concerns lie in potential dual-use technologies, where various technologies would have both civilian and military applications. At the same time, Israel introduced regulations to prevent the sale of sensitive military technology to China (and other countries), following a 1990s deal in which Israel had to drop the sale. of advanced airborne radar systems to China amid US ferocity. opposition.

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