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Xi urges Israel to make brave decisions

By Zhao Shengnan | China Daily | Updated: 2014-04-09 07:13

Visiting President Peres pledges to move Palestinian peace talks ahead

President Xi Jinping called on Tuesday for Israel to "make courageous decisions as early as possible" to push forward peace talks with the Palestinians, with efforts now "at a critical stage".

China will continue to play a constructive role during the process, Xi told visiting Israeli President Shimon Peres.

Xi's remarks came as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators ended another session with no sign of a breakthrough in efforts to salvage peace talks. However, an Israeli official said they had agreed to meet again.

Peres, a senior figure with a political career spanning more than 60 years, said Israel would work with the Palestinians and the international community to overcome difficulties and push the peace talks forward.

Xi also called for the early establishment of intergovernmental cooperation mechanisms covering economic and technological issues between China and Israel.

Both sides should strengthen cooperation in areas including agriculture, energy, environmental protection, education, medical care and technological innovation, he said.

Peres, making his second trip to China since taking office in 2007, said the "Chinese dream" put forward by Xi would bring more opportunities for global peace and development, and Israel hoped to enhance ties and cooperation with China.

Cooperative ventures in science and technology will be a major focus of discussions during Peres' visit.

The Jerusalem Post reported that China is aware that Israel excels in these fields and is extremely interested in joining forces with Israel in different areas of scientific and technological research.

During the three-day trip that started on Tuesday, Peres, 90, is expected to meet Chinese businessmen and have online communication with Chinese Internet users.

Before leaving for Beijing, he created an account on Sina Weibo, the popular micro-blogging platform in China. He currently has about 60,000 followers.

Pan Zhanlin, former Chinese ambassador to Israel, said the Middle Eastern country is one of the global leaders in scientific and technological research.

Chinese investment in Israel and the number of Chinese tourists to the country remain limited because of security concerns and a lack of understanding about Israel, Pan said.

China is Israel's top trading partner in Asia, and the third-largest worldwide, with bilateral trade in 2012 reaching nearly $10 billion, while Israel is an important source of high technology for China.

But Israel represents only 0.02 percent of China's investments and contracts worldwide over the past nine years, Naser al-Tamimi, a UK-based Middle East analyst, wrote in a recent article.

Xi also met with Timor-Leste's Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao and Namibian Prime Minister Hage Geingob in Beijing on Tuesday.


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