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April 13, 2016 7:30 am

Chinese, Israeli Leaders Discuss Further Cooperation, Possible Free-Trade Agreement

avatar by Shiryn Solny

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Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with Israeli Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein on Tuesday in Beijing. Photo: Israel Foreign Ministry.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with Israeli Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein on Tuesday in Beijing. Photo: Israel Foreign Ministry.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Israeli Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein met in Beijing on Tuesday to discuss enhanced cooperation between their two countries.

“China and Israel are both countries of ancient cultures with a rich history,” Keqiang said. “The relationship between the countries is firm and is based on friendship and true admiration. This year has seen cooperation projects between the countries in many areas, including the economy, academia and agriculture. This cooperation must be further deepened in many fields, especially in the field of innovation.”

The premier also called on the two sides to actively push forward negotiations on a free-trade agreement, China’s Xinhua News Agency reported. Keqiang said China is willing to seize the opportunity to further political exchanges and expand pragmatic cooperation with the Jewish state.

Edelstein said Israel is similarly willing to strengthen exchanges and communication with the Chinese government, business and academic communities and civil society.

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​An Israeli parliamentary delegation headed by Edelstein arrived in China on Sunday for a five-day visit. The delegation includes members of Knesset Eli Alalof, Michal Rozin and Yaakov Peri.

On Monday, Edelstein met with his Chinese counterpart, NRC Chairman Zhang Dejiang, and discussed parliamentary cooperation between the countries. Edelstein expressed Israel’s desire to collaborate with China on issues related to the environment, renewable energy, agriculture and other areas that may contribute to peace and stability in both regions.

Next year marks the 25th anniversary of China-Israel diplomatic ties.

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