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Remarks by Ambassador Gao Yanping at the Luncheon hosted by American Israel Public Affairs Committee
2013/11/08
On November 7th, 2013, at the invitation of American Israel Public Affairs Committee(AIPAC), Ambassador Gao Yanping gave a keynote speech at the luncheon hosted by AIPAC. The full text is as follows:

Today, I am greatly honored to attend the luncheon hosted by AIPAC. Your kind invitation shows that you are not only concerned about Israel-US relations, but also interested in China, Sino-Israel relations and even Sino-US relations. I once worked as diplomat in the United States for many years, long before I became the Chinese Ambassador to the State of Israel. Jews have always been an important part of American life. Vice President of United States Joe Biden made remarks this year, "Jewish heritage, Jewish culture, Jewish values are such an essential part of who we are that it's fair to say that Jewish heritage is American heritage." AIPAC plays an influential and active role in promoting bilateral exchanges between Israel and United States. Your excellent work and outstanding role is well-known to all.

First, I would like to talk a little bit about Sino-US relations. The United States is the biggest developed country while China is the biggest developing country in the world. The two countries share ever-growing common interests and shoulder increasingly greater common responsibilities on such issues as maintaining regional and international stability and promoting sustainable development of mankind. It will never overemphasize the importance of Sino-US relations. The relations between these two great countries have always witnessed ups and downs. Recently, there are many positive signs of development. Last June, President Xi Jinping and President Obama held a successful and historic meeting in California. The most important outcome is that China and the United States agreed to build a new model of major-country relations. The agreement is strategic, constructive and path-breaking in nature. It has charted the future course for the relations. In President Xi Jinping's words, the essential features of this model include number one, "no conflict or confrontation", number two, "mutual respect" and number three, "win-win cooperation". China and the United States may not always see eye to eye but we can cooperate on many issue. I sincerely hope that you, the members of AIPAC can also play a positive, constructive role and make contributions to China-US relations.

   Dear friends,

I know you are interested in Sino-Israel relations, so I am invited here today. Over the past two years as Chinese Ambassador to Israel, I truly felt the profound friendship between Chinese and Jewish peoples which has a long history.

Jews from the Middle East made journeys through the Silk Road and arrived in China as early as the eighth century during the days of Song Dynasty. It was then that they established Jewish communities in Kaifeng, which was the capital of Song Dynasty at that time. During World War II, parents or grandparents of many Jews suffered a lot from the persecution or the Nazi Holocaust, and found safe shelters in China. It was with selfless help of the Chinese people that many Jew refugees survived the darkest years of their life. The Jewish people have found a real friend during hard times.

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in his congratulation video at the national day reception of my Embassy last month, "Israel could be a perfect partner for China as it continues its remarkable economic growth. China has massive industry, talented entrepreneurs and global market reach. Israel is a force in science and technology, in entrepreneurship and innovation, and together we could turn our relative strength into absolute gains for both of us." I can't agree more.

Dialogue and contacts between China and Israel at various levels have increased and improved. Prime Minister Netanyahu just paid a successful visit to China last May and reached broad consensus with Chinese leaders. A government-to-government cooperative mechanism, including a Ministerial Committee and an Inter-Ministerial Committee, has been established to translate the consensus into concrete steps. Our pragmatic cooperation has been expanded from agricultural cooperation in the early days to almost all areas today, such as science and technology, education, culture, arts, tourism and academia. With the burgeoning cooperation come more tangible benefits and a lot of job opportunities for the two peoples. China has become Israel's third largest trading partner in the world, and the largest trading partner in Asia. The two-way trade volume increases almost 200 times compared with that of the year of 1992, from a little bit more than $50 million to almost $10 billion, which means that today, bilateral trade in two days equals that of the whole year of 1992.

We have entered into the third decade of China-Israel relations this year. Looking ahead, I have strong confidence that the third decade of China-Israel relations will be of great opportunities. Israel is a pioneer in innovation, a model of start-up country. China will seek the proactive adjustment of economic structure in order to transform and upgrade the economy. Israel has a special niche in China's transformation. We will greatly broaden the bilateral cooperation on economy and trade, science and technology, agriculture, medical care, culture, people-to-people ties, etc.

I have strong confidence that the third decade of China-Israel relations will be of sound and steady development. Though we have differences in national condition, development stage and perspective on some issues, the two governments and peoples share the same goal of enhancing friendship and mutual understanding, the same efforts to expand win-win cooperation and the same determination to push forward our relationship. China and Israel will have cooperation on the regional issues under the circumstance of historical changes in the Middle East.

I have strong confidence that the third decade of China-Israel relations will be of hope and excitement. With the deepening of reform and opening-up in all respects of China and with the implementation of east-oriented policy from Israeli government, China-Israel relationship will surely become more and more comprehensive, complementary, mutually beneficial and dynamic for the decade to come.

Dear friends,

A wise man who is 90 years old told me the other day, "Israel is too small but quite ambitious." I think all of you know whom I am talking about. It's H.E. President Shimon Peres. Not long ago, China's new central leadership has put forward the thought of Chinese Dream. We aim to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020, where both the GDP and per capita income will be doubled on the 2010 basis. By the mid of this century, we aim to develop China into a socialist modern country of prosperity, democracy, cultural progress and harmony. It is the dream of the country, of the nation and of the people. It's also an ambitious project. The Chinese Dream is a dream of mutual benefits, which will provide massive opportunities for the development of other countries, Israel and US included. I hope both Israel and US could seize the opportunities the Chinese Dream brings to the world and make the Chinese Dream our common dream. I am well convinced that so long as we make continuous efforts together, the Chinese Dream will surely unlock our potential, and bring a brighter future for both Sino-Israel relations as well as Sino-US relations!

   Toda Raba!
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