Transcontinental Media - October 05, 2014
Following the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948 and the People’s Republic of China a year later ties between the two countries were virtually non-existent. A Maoist China that stridently supported revolution in the Third World, and gave aid to the Palestinian guerrilla movements, wanted nothing to do with the Jewish state.
But as China emerged as a modern trading nation that would change. Starting secretly during the 1980s, but with increasing openness after the establishment of official ties in 1992, arms sales at first defined Sino-Israeli relations. Israel became China’s second-largest weapons supplier.
In fact, during the 1990s, American officials accused Israel of illegally providing China with weapons such as the Patriot missile, Lavi jetfighter, and Phalcon airborne radar system.
The arms trade seems to have levelled off, though in 2012 Israel appointed Matan Vilnai, a former major general, as its ambassador to China. Today, though, China is more interested in acquiring Israeli technology. Cyber-security is just one cutting-edge field, along with drones, in which Israel excels and where China wants to improve.
China is also interested in many technologies where Israel is considered a world leader, such as water recycling, desalination, agriculture, and health and medicine.