Chinese Army Chief to visit Israel after 10-yr gap

It will be the first trip of a Chinese military chief to Israel.

Beijing: Chinese Army chief will visit
Israel for the first time after a decade long hiatus in
defence ties between the two countries over US objections to
high tech Israeli military sales to Beijing.

General Chen Bingde, chief of the General Staff of the
People`s Liberation Army (PLA), will visit Israel next week as
the guest of his Israeli counterpart Lieutenant General Benny
Gantz, the Ministry of National Defence announced late last
month, state run China Daily reported.

It will be the first trip of a Chinese military chief to

Military ties became frayed when Israel cancelled an arms
deal with China, Yu Guoqing, an expert on Middle East studies
with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said.

In 2000, Israel suspended the sale of four advanced
early-warning Phalcon aircrafts to China following US

Since then, all Israeli military exports to China have
been subjected to strict inspections to ensure they do not
include US technology.

However, Sino-Israeli defence ties have showed signs of
warming in recent months.

In May, Admiral Wu Shengli of the PLA Navy visited

In June, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak visited
China, the first visit of an Israeli defence minister in a

Israel will be Chen`s last stop on a three-nation trip to
Russia, Ukraine and Israel.

Senior Israeli defence officials said recently that all
of Israel`s ties with China are under careful US scrutiny and
in most cases are approved ahead of time by the Pentagon,
according to Israeli media reports.

Yu said Israel`s growing focus on Beijing is also related
to the continuing turmoil in the Middle East.

"So far Israel is still observing the situation and has
yet to comment in public on the impact of regional changes
this year on the country. But its surrounding environment will
definitely be affected," he said.

"It is in need of fresh outside support, especially from
China," he said.


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