PM Netanyahu and Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong attend meeting of China-Israel Joint Committee
The two leaders discussed the importance of the tight bilateral cooperation in promoting technological innovation. Agreements were also signed between the two countries.
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
PM Netanyahu and Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong. Photo: GPO/Haim Zach.Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong, this morning (Wednesday, 21 March 2017), at the official guest house in Beijing, attended the Third Meeting of the China-Israel Joint Committee on Innovation Cooperation. The two held a meeting (with their delegations) in which they discussed the importance of the tight bilateral cooperation in promoting technological innovation. The Committee was also attended by Science Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis, Health Minister Yaakov Litzman, Environmental Protection Minister Ze’ev Elkin and Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen, as well as Prime Minister’s Office Director General Eli Groner, Justice Ministry Director General Emi Palmor and Innovation Authority Chairman Avi Hasson. The ministers and director generals signed the following agreements:
- MOU on proposals for flagship plans in 2017 (by Science, Technology and space Minister Akunis).
- China-Israel cooperation on emergency medicine in 2017-2020 (by Health Minister Litzman).
- Science Ministry “young leaders’ program – delegations to Israel (by Science, Technology and space Minister Akunis).
- Hospitals association cooperation agreement (by Health Minister Litzman).
- MOU on environmental issues (by Environmental Protection Minister Elkin).
- Letter of intent on cooperation in education.
- Update to the scholarships agreement.
- MOU between the innovation Authority and the city of Changzhou on establishing a joint office (by Innovation Authority Chairman Hasson).
- Agreement on joint projects between the joint science funds (by Justice Ministry Director general Palmor).
- Intellectual property agreement (by Justice Ministry Director general Palmor).
Advancing bilateral relations Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong thanked Prime Minister Netanyahu for his personal commitment to the Committee and to advancing bilateral relations in general. The Chinese Vice Premier said that the Committee, which includes a considerable number of government ministries from both countries, has proven itself and led to practical and important results, including the above mentioned significant agreements which promise increased innovation cooperation between China and Israel. Those additional ministries join every meeting indicates the success of the forum. She noted that China has such an innovation framework only with Israel and said that the Committee must continue to be beneficial and even be expanded in coming years. Prime Minister Netanyahu said that the framework of the committee is vital for bilateral relations and noted that it joins two additional frameworks – cooperation with the NDRC and the negotiations on a free-trade agreement –which together constitute the heart of bilateral relations: Cooperation in science, initiatives and innovation. Prime Minister Netanyahu thanked the Chinese Vice Premier for her personal commitment to the success of the forum and emphasized Israel’s commitment to its continuation. He noted that both countries have long-standing traditions and are committed to building societies that promote technology and innovation. He added that China and Israel have three characteristics in common: Ancient cultural traditions, people that are engaged in trade and a desire for excellence and a commitment to constant improvement. Two additional components must be added: Investment in science and innovation, the combination of which ensures the continued prosperity of both countries. Bilateral innovation cooperation is the yeast in the cake of the Israel-China relationship and enables it to increase and rise. Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong and Prime Minister Netanyahu noted that their countries have – during the latter’s current visit – agreed to upgrade the Innovative Comprehensive Partnership between them, which will bring raise bilateral cooperation to new heights. The two leaders noted their satisfaction at the tightening of links and cooperation in academia, as exemplified the presence of university heads at the meeting, the increase in direct flights between the two countries, the ten-year multiple entry visa agreement that took effect last November and the increase in Chinese tourism to Israel. Excerpt from PM Netanyahu’s remarks at the meeting: “The innovation conference is crucial because I believe that innovation is crucial for the future of our countries, indeed for the future of the world. There was a book that caught my attention when we were looking at the exhibit outside. It was an old book. It goes back many centuries, by one of our great thinkers and teachers, Rambam, Maimonides, and it’s translated into Chinese. Why is it important? Because the first internet, the ‘Jewish internet’, goes back over 1,000 years. We had communities of Jews scattered in various places, some in Europe, some in Yemen, some in Asia, and they would ask questions of the rabbis, of the very big scholars – questions and from generation to generation these questions grew, and sometimes it would take months – months – for a letter, a query, a ‘text message’, to arrive and then several more months until an answer came. And this was constantly improved. There was, as they say, a cloud of learning and scholarship. We’re always seeking to find new approaches. This Jewish tradition is very much at the heart of what we are doing in the common quest for innovation, in the Israeli contributions to the development of the new economy, the internet economy, and it’s only natural that our two ancient peoples, who have always prized scholarship, learning, will now connect in the modern era to lead the great changes that are taking place. I believe that the future belongs to those countries that innovate. I believe that there’s no area in our lives that will not be technologized. Everything – everything – is being technologized. Everything – water, air, food, transport, communications, energy. Everything is being technologized by this innovation. And those countries and those companies that have the edge of innovation are the ones who are going to succeed. Further, I believe that the speed of innovation is increasing constantly, and therefore the need to have systemic policies to encourage innovation is becoming a necessity, a prerequisite for success. We admit that we have certain capacities in this area, but we think that if we partner with you, we’ll show unbelievable capacities for change and growth and management and industry and global market reach, and I think the combination is very, very powerful. New industries are created as we speak. As we speak. Since your visit to Israel, which was only recently, we’ve learned that Israel has a car industry. Now, we’ve never really had a car industry. We only produce chassis, engines, tires. We tried once but failed, miserably. But we have a car industry. Our car industry is the autonomous vehicle technology, the ‘brains’ of the car. And we’ve just had Intel, that invests heavily in China but also invests heavily in Israel, invest in one company – one company – $15 billion to buy it, but also when it bought this company of automotive technology, it said: Here, you have the keys to the world, for all our automotive technologies in the world. So Israel is now becoming a center for autonomous driving in the entire world because of innovation. Because of innovation. Now, the same thing is happening with digital health. The same thing is happening in other areas too. I should add that in addition to this particula r company that Intel bought for 15 billion dollars, we have 500 companies that do the same thing. A few years ago we had nothing. These are like mushrooms after the rain. We want to marry our technology with China’s capacities. The ability to have technological exchanges depends on the sustainability of this conference, and we strongly hope that we can continue the work that you began, Adam, in the coming years. Secondly, it depends, I believe, on the work of the NDRC and the Prime Minister’s Office in specific areas of technological cooperation. And third, it depends on the acceleration of the Free Trade Agreement between China and Israel, which by itself is a platform for technology exchanges. Technology is so valuable today that we all can benefit from it. Israel has benefited a great deal but we understand that we could benefit more to the extent that we could have China realize its extraordinary goals and ambitions to build on its extraordinary success. We want to be your partners. We think we can be your partners. This forum has shown that we’re well on the right road, and let’s continue on it. I want to thank you again, thank Premier Li and of course President Xi who is sitting here today. Thank you.”