Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu toured the Great Wall of China Thursday, telling his hosts Israel’s recently constructed border fence with Egypt was modeled on the heavily fortified, ancient Chinese wall.
He also said, possibly in jest, that Israel would continue to build similar fortifications until it was completely surrounded.
“It is truly inspiring,” Netanyahu said while touring the wall. “Just as the Chinese defended themselves and barricaded themselves with the Great Wall, so we will continue to fortify ourselves along the southern border, the Golan Heights and on all fronts.”
Israel’s fence with Egypt, the main part of which was completed in January, was designed to repel migrants from Africa as well as terror infiltrators from the Sinai.
The country also recently upgraded its border with Syria, fearful of the civil war there spilling into the Golan, and plans have been reported to fortify sections of the Jordan and Lebanese borders.
Jerusalem cites the partially completed West Bank security fence, which in sections takes the form of a large wall, as a key factor in the drop in Palestinian terror attacks since 2003, when construction first began.
Following his visit to the Great Wall, Netanyahu, who is on a five-day trip to China that began on Sunday, held a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and offered to establish a long-term economic partnership between the two nations.
“We view China with great admiration and we know that it is led by forward-looking leaders with great vision, great clarity and great openness,” Netanyahu said during a press conference the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
“China is a leading global power in so many fields, and Israel is a global center of technology.”
Netanyahu called to strengthen ties between both countries and proposed to set up a detailed plan to promote cooperation between Israeli and Chinese technologists.
“My proposal is to have a government-to-government systematic plan to make partnerships between Israeli technologists and experts and [their] Chinese counterparts, on a level of senior officials… and I think that we can achieve even greater successes working together,” the prime minister said.
On Wednesday, Israel and China signed a $400 million trade agreement which expanded the already existing financial protocol between the two countries to more than $2 billion.
The deal was signed by Finance Ministry Accountant-General Michal Abadi-Boiangiu and officials from China’s Finance Ministry, in the presence of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Netanyahu.
Netanyahu said that Israeli-Chinese trade amounted to some $8 billion each year, and the two countries were constantly working to increase that amount. ”The potential for bilateral trade is vast,” he said.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office, “the protocol is a bilateral financial agreement that allows for the growth of Israeli exports to China by means of state guarantees in support of long-term export deals.”
Since the signing of the initial financial protocols, Israel has exported a total of some $771 million worth of goods and services to China, according to the Prime Minister’s office.