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Israel to Open Office in Peking, in Latest Sign of Improved Ties

Israel and the People’s Republic of China are approaching bilateral relations. But there is some distance to be traveled before diplomatic ties can be viewed as imminent.

Nevertheless, China has agreed to allow Israel to open an academic liaison office in Peking. And on Sunday, a contract was signed to allow the Peking Opera to perform next May in Israel.

The liaison office also will deal, informally, with bilateral business issues and the coordination of economic projects by government-linked companies in both countries.

The agreement has yet to be formalized. It is still unclear whether the Israeli academic representative will live in Peking on a permanent or temporary basis.

The Chinese are proceeding with considerable reserve. Foreign Minister Qian Qichen asked Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres last month that “no news of bilateral relations between the countries be made public,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

The two met in New York, where they attended the opening of the 43rd session of the United Nations General Assembly.

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