EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: In a sign of the importance Beijing assigns to ties with Jerusalem, China’s powerful VP, Wang Qishan, made a visit to Israel last week. He is the highest-level Chinese official to visit since then-president Jiang Zemin visited in 2000. Wang is known as a “firefighter” and is a close ally of President Xi Jinping, the most powerful Chinese leader since Chairman Mao.
Last week, Chinese VP Wang Qishan led a large delegation to Israel to comprise the Chinese side of the fourth China-Israel Innovation Committee conference. The delegation included Jack Ma, co-founder and head of the Alibaba Group, one of the world’s largest e-commerce companies. The conference was hosted by Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.
The event was held in collaboration with the Israeli Ministry of Culture and Sport and the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation. It was designed to highlight Israel’s technological innovation in the areas of digital health, food and agriculture technologies, and cybersecurity.
Wang was recently appointed the Chinese head of the joint committee. Netanyahu, who is also Israel’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, is the Israeli head. The initiative aims at providing a framework for joint ventures between Israeli and Chinese government ministries. The appointment of Wang Qishan as the Chinese head illustrates the importance Beijing attributes to innovation and technology cooperation with Israel.