INSS Insight No. 906, March 19, 2017
Matan Vilnai , Assaf Orion , Galia Lavi
On March 20-21, 2017, 25 years after the establishment of diplomatic relations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will visit China, his second visit there during Xi Jinping’s presidency. The visit will take place against the backdrop of the growing economic relations between Israel and China; China’s heightened interest in the Middle East; and the dynamic developing among the three world powers at the outset of Donald Trump’s presidency. Ties between Israel and China embody significant growth potential for the Israeli economy that must be maximized while taking every precaution to preserve Israel’s strategic relationship with the United States. The intention during Netanyahu’s upcoming visit is to define the relations between Israel and China as a “comprehensive innovative partnership,” a definition expressing both sides’ understanding of the center of gravity of their relations. The two have clearly agreed to avoid calling the partnership “strategic,” as in the background are Israel’s relationship with the United States and China’s relationship with other Middle East states.