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Li Keqiang Holds Talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, Stressing to Enhance the Leading Role in Innovation and Speed up the Negotiation on Free Trade Agreement to Add New Impetus into the Development of China-Israel Relations

On the afternoon of March 20, 2017, Premier Li Keqiang held talks at the Great Hall of the People with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, who was on an official visit to China.

Li Keqiang expressed that China-Israel relations have achieved substantial development and scored fruitful achievements from cooperation in various fields since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations 25 years ago. China is willing to, together with Israel, continue to consolidate political mutual trust, jointly advance the innovative comprehensive partnership, intensify education, tourism and other people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and push forward China-Israel relations and cooperation towards higher levels, broader areas and deeper degrees, so as to bring more welfare to the two peoples.

Li Keqiang pointed out that China-Israel cooperation enjoys advantage complementarity and broad prospects. China is willing to, together with Israel, well integrate development strategies, speed up the negotiation on China-Israel free trade zone and strive to complete the negotiation as early as possible. Meanwhile, China stands ready to accelerate the negotiation on free trade with Gulf Cooperation Council, propel economic and trade cooperation with the region, and send out a clear signal of safeguarding free trade to the world. The two countries should focus on bilateral cooperation in innovation, build a green fast track, deepen cooperation in basic science, modern agriculture, clean energy, biomedicine and other fields, steadily advance cooperation in port, light rail and other key infrastructure construction projects, and actively explore and conduct cooperation in third-party markets, in a bid to achieve mutual benefit, win-win results and common development.

Li Keqiang stressed that as a common friend of Israel and Palestine, China has no private interests and hopes to see the peaceful coexistence of Israel and Palestine as early as possible. It is hoped that both sides could adhere to the right direction of the "two-state solution", accommodate and understand each other, meet each other half way, and restart and propel peace talks as soon as possible. Continuously upholding an objective and unbiased position, China is willing to make joint efforts with the international community to play a constructive role in peace, stability and development in the Middle East.

Benjamin Netanyahu expressed that the Israeli people will never forget that Chinese people offered a hand to them during World War II. In recent years, Israel-China cooperation has constantly made progress. The Israeli side is willing to, together with China, adapt to the development trend of science and technology in modern world, strengthen cooperation in innovation, and jointly create the future of bilateral relations. The Israeli side stands ready to give play to its scientific and technical advantage to expand mutually beneficial cooperation with China in smart car, modern medical care, clean energy, communication, marine fishery, agriculture, water conservation and other fields. The country hopes to expedite the negotiation on Israel-China free trade agreement, expand two-way investment, actively carry out cooperation in third-party markets, deepen cooperation in education, and boost bilateral cooperation in innovation. Israel welcomes Chinese enterprises to participate in infrastructure construction projects in Israel, and is willing to enhance bilateral cooperation in transportation. Israel appreciated China's constructive role in the peace process in the Middle East.

Prior to the talks, Li Keqiang held a welcoming ceremony for Benjamin Netanyahu at the North Hall of the Great Hall of the People. Vice Chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Luo Fuhe and others were present.

After the talks, Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu jointly witnessed the signing of multiple bilateral cooperation documents covering economy, science, technology, commerce, civil aviation and other fields.

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