In what the Jerusalem Post calls a “signal of growing Sino-Israeli ties,” Gen. Chen Bingde, chief of General Staff of China’s People’s Liberation Army, will visit Israel next week as a guest of Israeli Defense Forces Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen.Benny Gantz. Bingde’s visit follows Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s visit to China in June, the first by an Israeli defense minister to the Asian superpower in a decade. The visits come as Israel Aerospace Industries is bidding to set up a factory in China to build executive jets with the Aviation Industry Corporation of China. Although this would be a deal to build civilian aircraft, it is portrayed as a step towards rebuilding commercial military ties, which have stagnated in recent years due to US pressure on Tel Aviv.
After diplomatic ties were established in 1992, the countries traded military technology extensively. The relationship frayed in 2000 when the United States pushed Israel to cancel a deal to sell China reconnaissance aircraft. Since then, all Israeli military exports to China have been subject to strict inspection to ensure they do not include American technology.
Despite reduced military trade, Israel-China bilateral trade reached $6.7 billion in 2010…
Avrum Ehrlich, director of the Israel-China Institute, said the unrest in Syria is changing China’s Middle East strategy.
“The most important driving factors of Chinese foreign policy are its oil and securing its transport routes,” Ehrlich said. He said the upcoming visit by the military chief could reflect a Chinese desire to use Israel as a gateway to the Mediterranean basin and Europe instead of Syria, which is unstable.
Five years ago, we noted the irony that the Dalai Lama was snubbed by both the Israeli and Palestinian leadership when he visited the Holy Land. The Palestinians are apparently still trying to salvage the ever-more perfunctory and lukewarm remnants of Mao-era Chinese support for their cause. Maybe this will be a wake-up call for them. We are not so optimistic that anything will wake up the stateside idiot left, which not only suffers under illusions about Maoism, but (worse still) the illusion that it still exists. As we have pointed out again and again and again.