Israel, China celebrates 20 years of diplomatic relations

Updated: 2012-01-25 09:27


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Israel, China celebrates 20 years of diplomatic relations 

 Israli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) speaks at a reception celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Israel in Tel Aviv on Jan. 24, 2012. [Photo/Xinhua]

TEL AVIV - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday praised the relations between Israel and China at a reception celebrating the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

"We may be celebrating 20 years of relations, but our peoples are now celebrating a thousand years of friendship," Netanyahu said.

He mentioned China's fair treatment towards the Jewish communities in the past, and the safe-haven given to them during the holocaust. "Like the Chinese people, the Jewish people have a long memory. We always remember our friends. We always remember people who extended a hand to us in our darkest days and we are grateful for China for that."

The prime minister said that the friendship between the two sides can further deepen. "I think we barely scratched the surface of Israeli-Chinese relations. I have no doubt that in the coming years we'll see a dramatic expansion of these ties," he said.

"We've talked about doubling the trade (between the two countries). Well, I'd like to see a doubling of a doubling of the trade. I think Israel and China together are a winning combination, " Netanyahu said.

In addition to the prime minister, several other senior Israeli officials attended the reception, among them ministers, former ambassadors and envoys to China and key figures in the bilateral ties.  

Chinese ambassador Gao Yanping said that "Over the past 20 years our pragmatic cooperation has been booming. When we started our diplomatic relations in 1992, our two-way trade volume was only a little bit more than 50 million U.S. dollars. Now the trade volume we have in two days equals that of the whole year of 1992."

She said that "The further development of China-Israel relations is not only beneficial to both countries and the two peoples, but also very much conductive to regional stability, world peace and global prosperity."

"Facing the ongoing major transformation and adjustment in the region and in the world, the China-Israel relationship is now at a new historical point. We should continue to work together, grow together and succeed together in the years to come," Gao added.