TEL AVIV (Oct. 20)
A Chinese trade delegation visiting Israel for the first time has proven to be extremely media shy.
The seven-member group evaded reporters after landing at Ben-Gurion Airport in the dead of night Wednesday.
They then disappeared from Sheba government hospital in Tel Hashomer Thursday morning upon spotting a large group of news reporters waiting to talk to them.
The Chinese are reportedly interested in medical equipment and machinery. Their inspection tour of the hospital has been rescheduled and will be conducted in secret.
The delegation, the first from the People’s Republic of China to come to Israel using Chinese passports, is headed by Lo Chi Min, a Chinese businessman who holds Belgian citizenship but has extensive ties with Peking.
The Chinese government has been making great efforts to downplay the visit, and the Israelis are also stressing its unofficial nature.
Nevertheless, both countries seem to be treading softly toward some form of commercial contact, with the possibility of more significant relations in the offing.
There have been reports recently that Israeli officials have made clandestine visits to China. The highest-ranking Israeli said to have gone to Peking is Avraham Tamir of the Foreign Ministry.