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May 3, 2013 2:59 pm

Netanyahu Will Aim to Develop Growing Ties on China Trip

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Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to visit China early this month in the first visit by an Israeli prime minister to the country in six years.

One current challenge the Jewish state faces is the possibility of China looking at Israel’s close relationship with the U.S. as an obstacle to Israel-China ties, a determination that might cause China, which is becoming increasingly involved with the Middle East, to increase its reliance on Arab oil and ignore ties with Israel.

China, however, believes that Israel holds one of the main keys to stability in the Middle East, in the form of “an important source of knowledge about events in a region in which China often feels at a loss,” as well as “a source of advanced technologies, and China has an interest in promoting its science and technology ties with Israel, and perhaps even energy ties as Israel’s natural gas industry develops,” Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies said in a study.

For now, China is showing a balanced diplomatic approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, welcoming both Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for visits.

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