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".

 

World leaders condemn Britain terror attack

UN-backed Syria talks restart in Geneva

10 Egyptian soldiers killed in Sinai roadside bombings

Erdogan warns Europeans risk being ‘unsafe’ on world’s streets

Saudi film festival launch postponed after sandstorm

Britain arrests eight as IS claims Westminster attack

Man attempts to drive into crowd of shoppers in Belgium’s Antwerp

Palestinian FA chief says ball in Israel's court

Israel arrests Jewish teen over anti-Semitic terror threats

An Egypt court is to reopen a corruption probe into Mubarak

Bahrain frees award-winning AFP photographer

Erdogan slams 'pressure' on Turks in Bulgaria ahead of vote

Israel policeman suspended after caught on video beating Palestinian

Turkey summons Russia envoy over soldier death in Syria

Bahrain sentences three to death for police bombings

EU summons Turkey envoy over 'safety' remarks

400,000 'trapped' in west Mosul's Old City

Qaeda, IS developing harder-to-detect bombs say experts

Terrorist attack at London’s Houses of Parliament

2016 saw sharp rise in illegal Israeli settlement projects

US-led coalition vows lasting victory against IS

Bahrain arrests photographer on unspecified charges

Humanitarian groups demand access to Yemen civilians suffering 'open-air massacre'

33 killed in US-led air strike on north Syria

Rights group says Libyan military committed war crimes

Israel seals East Jerusalem home of Palestinian attacker's family

Migrants in Europe at risk of drug-resistant tuberculosis

Iraqis urged to avoid hurried mass grave exhumations

Turkey steps up objection to US flight laptop ban

Britain joins US in banning laptops on flights from Turkey, Arab world

Anti-IS coalition gathers in Washington to hear Trump plan

Turkey links Gulen to murder of Armenian journalist

Kuwait bans hit movie ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Five dead in Mogadishu bombing

Khamenei fleshes out 'Made in Iran' vision

Turkey to ask US to reverse flight laptop ban

Israeli army says Hezbollah commander killed by own men

Kurds celebrate Newroz in Turkey's southeast despite shooting

Turkey’s AKP says no more campaign rallies in Germany

Chinese president calls for peace in meeting with Netanyahu

Iraq forces gain ground in Mosul

US bans electronic devices from cabins on Middle East flights

Erdogan says yes vote best response to 'fascist Europe'

Arab Israeli woman gets 50 months prison for joining IS

All Syria sides confirm attendance at Geneva talks