First Published: 2017-03-20

Netanyahu in China amid Israel election speculation
Israeli economic mission to Beijing has largely been overshadowed by recent dispute between prime minister, key coalition partner.
Middle East Online

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) walks with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang

BEIJING - Visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met his Chinese counterpart Monday and called for efforts to promote global stability, amid political turmoil back home.

There is a "great deal of convulsion in the world", Netanyahu told Li Keqiang before their meeting, urging the two countries to advance "security, peace, stability and prosperity".

The meeting was part of a three-day trip by the Israeli leader marking 25 years of diplomatic relations. He is expected to meet President Xi Jinping Tuesday.

Netanyahu was accompanied by 90 businesspeople -- the largest Israeli business delegation ever to visit China, according to Chinese state broadcaster CGTN.

They met executives from some of China's largest corporations including Internet giants Baidu and Alibaba, said a statement from the Israeli prime minister's office.

But the economic mission has largely been overshadowed by a dispute that erupted between the prime minister and a key coalition partner just before his arrival in China.

Netanyahu announced on Israeli public radio Sunday that he would be abandoning an agreement with Moshe Kahlon, the finance minister, to form a new public broadcasting authority to supplant the current one.

Local media reports said Netanyahu told his cabinet ministers he would dissolve the coalition government led by his Likud party if Kahlon does not comply -- a threat that some are calling an attempt to delay his possible indictment.

The prime minister has denied wrongdoing in two corruption investigations that are expected to be concluded in the coming weeks.

Trade between China and Israel has flourished since diplomatic ties were established in 1992.

China's total investment in Israel exceeds six billion dollars, and Israeli-designed technologies are used across the world's second largest economy.

The two countries began free trade negotiations last year.

Israel has largely focused its relationship with China on economics to avoid straining its strategic ties with the United States, analysts said.

"Their common interests are business, the Silk Road initiative and scientific innovation," Pan Guang, the dean of Shanghai's Center for Jewish Studies, told AFP.

"Both sides know their differences on the Middle East peace process, and they don't want to emphasise those differences."

In a speech to the Arab League in January 2016, Xi expressed support for the establishment of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, noting that China "understands the legitimate aspirations of Palestine to integrate into the international community".

 

Libya to investigate 'slave auction' footage

Lebanon FM will not attend Arab League Iran summit

Iraq top court declares Kurd referendum unconstitutional

15 women killed in food aid crush in Morocco

Rare moments of joy at Arabs’ unprecedented World Cup qualifications

Syrian forces liberate Albu Kamal from IS

Israel votes to shut migrant centre, deport Africans

Diplomats from Iran, Russia, Turkey discuss Syria

Libya to investigate ‘slave auction’ footage

Piece by piece, Iran moves towards a ‘new empire’

Netanyahu faces new questioning over corruption case

Syria troops, allies retake most of Albu Kamal from IS

EU cuts funding to Turkey in 2018 budget

Lebanon's Hariri arrives in Paris

Egypt opens Gaza border for first time since unity deal

US-Russia rift threatens fragile prospects for Syria peace

'Caliphate' in tatters but IS still a threat

Saudi Arabia recalls ambassador to Berlin over Gabriel Lebanon comments

Russia again vetoes renewal of Syria gas attacks probe

UN weighs bid to save Syria gas attacks probe

IS attack kills 26 displaced people in Syria

Saudi FM says Lebanon 'held hostage by Hezbollah'

Egypt to open Rafah crossing for 3 days

Turkish troops pulled from NATO drill amid new tensions

Six children among civilians killed in shelling of Eastern Ghouta

US official calls on Sudan to stop 'church demolitions'

Hariri set to leave Saudi Arabia for France

Fears of bombs, IS cells still haunt Mosul

Iraq retakes Rawa, last town held by IS

Riyadh striking deals with people detained in anti-graft purge

Iran criticises French Mideast policy

Russia again blocks UN resolution on Syria action

Israel military chief says ready to cooperate with Saudi Arabia

Egypt confirms death of wanted jihadist

UK denies link between citizen detained in Iran and £400m debt

Qatar sets temporary minimum wage for migrant workers

Top US official begins Sudan trip

Hamas says Israeli assassins in Tunisia used Bosnian passports

Syria army enters last IS-held town

France worried by Iran's 'hegemonic' intentions

Russia, Turkey, Iran to hold Syria summit

Saudi FM rejects accusations Hariri in Saudi Arabia against his will

Lebanon’s president awaits Hariri return before next move

Iran pushing for Hamas-Hezbollah reconciliation

French PM in Rabat to boost trade, cooperation