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CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTER VISITS ISRAEL

Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing: 'China Wishes To Preserve Her close Ties With Israel'

'China And Israel Are Two Ancient Peoples Living In Their Historic Homelands'

'Six Million Jewish People And Twenty Million Chinese Were Slaughtered During World War Two'

Li Zhaoxing

The U.S. boycott of an Israeli arms sale to China has apparently not affected the very close ties between Israel and China. Chinese Foreign Minister Zhaoxing continued his trip to Israel saying his country wishes to maintain its relations with Israel in all spheres including the 'army'. He also announced that China has placed Israel on its recommended tourist map and hotels here had better start building more rooms for thousands of Chinese tourists who will invade Jerusalem, the city of peace. The Chinese official received a very warm welcome from state President Moshe Katzav and from Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin and the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

The U.S may have barred an Israeli arms sale to China, but this has not affected the close relations between Jerusalem and Beijing. China’s affable Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing was in a jaunty mood when he called on Israel’s parliament the Knesset in Jerusalem. Hosted by the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, the Chinese official was greeted by chairman Yuval Steinitz. Referring to China as the giant on the world stage and Israel as a dwarf, Steinitz said the Jewish state had extremely important ties with China on all levels. China was certainly the most ancient country in the East while Israel was one of the most ancient in the West. At this point Speaker Rivlin interjected: We are the most ancient in the Middle East, some may be trying to drive us into the West!’ Rivlin went on to say that the Jewish and Chinese peoples were unique in being able to trace their roots back to their ancient homelands.

Foreign Minister Zhaoxing said he was thrilled to visit the Knesset on a trip of friendship and peace. The Chinese official had talked with his Israeli counter-part on continuing joint efforts to further enhance cooperation in all possible spheres: trade, economy, army, culture, education and now tourism. He said: ‘Thousands of Chinese tourist will now invade the peace city Jerusalem!’ And he advised Israeli hotels to start building more rooms. For two ancient peoples, it was important to learn the lessons of history in order to march forward to peace and common prosperity. And then Li Zhaoxing spoke solemnly of his visit to Yad VaShem:‘I’ve just come back from a tour to your great memorial of the Holocaust. I learned a lot and I was so saddened when I was told six million Jewish people were slaughtered by the Nazis in World War II. It brought to mind that in the same period of WWII, about twenty million Chinese were slaughtered by the Japanese aggressors’.

The Foreign Minister went on to say that the peoples have a lot to share, not only from the past but today and tomorrow. China hoped to always be friends and good partners with Israel: ‘to ensure that our children and grandchildren will always enjoy peace and happiness.’ Li Zhaoxing concluded his address by saying: ‘Thank you and Shalom’.

David Essing

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