Sunday, December 22, 2013

China and Israel

The visit of Chinese FM Wang Yi to Israel last week represents a further move by Israel, as by Egypt and the other Sunni Arab States, to reduce their dependence on Obama's America and expand their base of cooperation with other major world powers. This can be seen as a historic process, whereby the weak foreign policy of Obama has persuaded its Middle Eastern allies that they can no longer depend on the unipolar superpower that was the US and that they must look to other powers to expand their horizons. This is true even though Russia and China have been supporting Iran in its defiance of the international community thru the UN. The fact that Iran has been prepared to negotiate an interim 6 month deal with the P5+1 powers (US, France, China, Russia, UK and Germany) has a great deal to do with the compliance of China and Russia in this process.

PM Netanyahu visited China in May and now Wang has reciprocated by visiting Israel for the first time. In their joint press conference in Jerusalem, PM Netanyahu said, “Our strengths complement one another. China has massive industrial and global reach. Israel has expertise in every area of high-tech. And I think the combination could be very, very beneficial to China and of course to Israel. Especially with regards to the fields we are talking about: science and technology, water management, agriculture, green energy and health services. Likewise we want to increase cooperation between us in global transportation. I would like to talk to you about the rail road that will connect Asia and Europe, by going from the port of Eilat on the Red Sea to the Ashdod port on the Mediterranean. I believe this is important to global and Chinese commerce.”

So this is no sentimental visit, but one in which real tangible benefits could accrue to both China and Israel through mutual cooperation. Given that China is now the second largest economy in the world after the US, it is both expedient and timely for Israel to develop this alliance. Time will tell if the weakening of the US power in the world is merely a temporary event or part of a long term levelling process whereby countries like the so-called BRIICS (Brazil, Russia, India, Italy, China and S. Africa) enhance their economic and military power relative to the USA. It will certainly help Israel's economic development if the rail link from Eilat to Ashdod, bypassing the Suez canal, becomes operational for the transport of trade between the far east and Europe.


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