Speech by Ambassador Cai Run at the Panel on the 30th Anniversary of China-Israel Diplomatic Relations
29 March 2022
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to attend the panel on the 30th anniversary of China-Israel diplomatic relations co-hosted by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Peking University.
As China and Israel are celebrating the 30th anniversary this year, it is of special significance that visionary people from both countries gather here to review the extraordinary history of China-Israel relations and look ahead to the bright future of bilateral cooperation. I’d like to express my warm congratulations on this panel, and heartfelt appreciation to the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Peking University, especially to Professor Yuri and Professor Han Xi, for hosting this event. Taking this opportunity, I’d also like to extend my sincere greetings and thanks to all of you who have always been following and supporting the development of China-Israel relations.
The 30th anniversary is an important milestone in the history of China-Israel relations. In November 2021, President Xi Jinping had a phone conversation with President Isaac Herzog. Both leaders agreed to take the 30th anniversary as an opportunity to deepen the China-Israel relationship. On the day of the 30th anniversary, which was January 24 this year, leaders of the two countries exchanged congratulatory messages, and the fifth meeting of the China-Israel Joint Committee on Innovation Cooperation was successfully held. The two sides also held various celebration events. In a joyful atmosphere, Chinese and Israeli people from all walks of life talked about our traditional friendship, commended the mutually beneficial cooperation, and envisioned the future development of bilateral ties.
Over the past 30 years, with joint efforts made by leaders and peoples of both countries, China-Israel relations have kept sound and steady development, and achieved fruitful cooperation outcomes.
The past 30 years have witnessed ever-increasing political mutual trust. Leaders of the two countries have maintained close interaction, and friendly exchanges have been increasingly frequent at all levels. We established the China-Israel Intergovernmental Mechanism of Economic and Technological Cooperation and the China-Israel Joint Committee on Innovation Cooperation. In 2017, we launched the China-Israel Innovative Comprehensive Partnership, elevating bilateral relations to a new height.
The past 30 years have witnessed vigorous development of mutually beneficial cooperation. Our bilateral trade volume rose from $50 million in 1992 to $22.8 billion in 2021, which has increased more than 450 times in just 30 years. China is Israel’s largest trading partner in Asia and the second largest in the world. The two sides have cooperated in such landmark projects as the new port of Haifa, the Red Line of the Tel Aviv Light Rail, the China-Israel Changzhou Innovation Park, and the China-Israel (Shanghai) Innovation Park, making innovation cooperation a highlight and a driving force for bilateral relations.
The past 30 years have witnessed flourishing people-to-people exchanges. The two countries opened direct flights between the Israeli city of Tel Aviv and the Chinese cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Hong Kong. In 2019, 170,000 visits were made by Chinese tourists to Israel and around 100,000 by Israelis to China. There are now 26 pairs of sister cities between China and Israel. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, China and Israel have been helping each other, joining hands to tackle challenges, showing vividly “a friend in need is a friend indeed”. Our friendship is further deepened with Israeli athletes’ active participation in the Beijing Winter Olympics.
There are three reasons why China-Israel relations have withstood the test of the changing international landscape and kept sound and steady development. First, we share traditional friendship. The Chinese and Jewish people have been respecting and supporting each other, laying the historical and emotional foundation for China-Israel relations. Second, we share mutual respect. Different national conditions haven’t become obstacles to our friendly exchanges. The two sides abide by the basic norms governing international relations such as mutual respect for sovereignty and non-interference in internal affairs. These efforts helped strengthen the political foundation of bilateral relations. Third, we share win-win cooperation. China and Israel have similar visions, complementary development strengths, great potential and bright prospects of cooperation. The essence of China-Israel cooperation is win-win results.
As the Chinese sage Confucius said, “A man should be steadfast at the age of thirty”, The Talmud also regards 30 as the most energetic age in life. A year has passed since I assumed my post, I have been impressed by the Israeli people’s friendliness and great passion for China-Israel ties, and the bright prospects of bilateral relations. Taking the 30th anniversary as a new starting point, I will, along with my colleagues at the Chinese Embassy and friends on both sides, implement the important consensus reached by our leaders, and write a new chapter of mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Israel.
In this event, I hope all guests and friends from both sides could have in-depth discussions, build consensus, and contribute to China-Israel relations going forward. I wish this forum a complete success.