Zhang Dejiang (L), chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress (NPC), meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Sept. 19, 2016. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)
JERUSALEM, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese and Israeli leaders have pledged to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in various fields such as innovation, environmental protection, agriculture and biology as well as in the implementation of China's Belt and Road Initiative.
The consensus was made during meetings between Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress, and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Knesset (parliament) Speaker Yuli Edelstein earlier this week.
Zhang, who met with Netanyahu shortly after his arrival in the region Monday on a four-day official goodwill visit to Israel and Palestine, told the Israeli leader that there are great potential and a broad vista for China and Israel to enhance their cooperation.
It is important to implement key consensus reached between leaders of the two countries and contribute to the achievement of further positive results from bilateral cooperation in various fields, Zhang stressed, adding that the Belt and Road Initiative put forward by President Xi Jinping has brought countries in the Middle East more opportunities to promote their development.
The initiative refers to building a Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It is aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia wiht Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes.
China stands ready to work with Israel to bring into full play the role of the committees on bilateral cooperation in economy and technology as well as in innovation, to strengthen their close cooperation in science and technology innovation and talent development, and to push for early progress in their free trade talks in order to create a better environment for the development of bilateral ties, he said.
China has been committed to contributing to a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue and supports all efforts facilitating the resumption of Israeli-Palestinian talks and the achievement of peaceful co-existence of the two countries, Zhang said.
Netanyahu agreed with Zhang's pragmatic proposals, saying that Israel regards China as a priority cooperation partner.
The advantages of the two countries' economic development are mutually complementary and there are broad areas for them to conduct cooperation, he said, expressing the hope that both sides will expand cooperation in such fields as innovation, environmental protection, agriculture and biology.
Israel is willing to participate in Belt and Road Initiative and the activities of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, he added.
While meeting with President Rivlin Tuesday, Zhang said that Chinese-Israeli relations have enjoyed sound and stable development since the two countries established diplomatic relations, particularly in recent years, bringing about tangible benefits for both countries and their peoples.
Noting that China and Israel will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties next year, Zhang hoped that both countries will take the opportunity to lift bilateral relations to a new height.
Rivlin said Israel has been grateful to the Chinee people for their help to the Jewish people during the Second World War and is willing to seize cooperation opportunities and deepen bilateral relations.
During his meeting with Knesset Speaker Edelstein on Tuesday, Zhang said that the exchanges of the Chinese and Israeli legislatures are a key component of bilateral relations.
The two sides should maintain friendly cooperation at all levels, enhance the sharing of experience regarding legislative contributions to national development, and keep optimizing the legislative environment to facilitate cooperation between enterprises of the two countries and their people-to-people exchanges, Zhang said.
Edelstein said that there is a broad consensus in the Knesset on the development of ties with China and that the Israeli parliament is ready to deepen its exchanges and cooperation with the Chinese National People's Congress, and play an active role in consolidating friendship, promoting development, improving the people's livelihood and protecting the environment.
Before their meeting, Zhang and Edelstein signed a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of a mechanism for regular exchanges between the Chinese National People's Congress and the Knesset.
Zhang also held talks with Isaac Herzog, chairman of Israel's opposition Labor Party. During the meeting, Zhang said that contacts between political parties are important for promoting relations between countries.
The Communist Party of China is willing to conduct exchanges with all Israeli parties including the Labor to push forward the development of Chinese-Israeli relations in an all-round way, he said.
Herzog said his party attaches importance to and looks forward to the strengthening of dialogue and exchanges with China and learn from each other's useful experience.
During his stay in Israel, Zhang paid a visit to Israel's Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem, and laid a wreath there to honor millions of Jews perished during the Second World War. He also visited the Weizmann Institute of Science in central Israel and met with Israeli scientists on science and technology innovation and the commercialization of technology innovations.
After winding up his visit to Israel and Palestine, Zhang traveled on to Finland to continue his current four-nation tour, which also includes France.