TEL AVIV (Dec. 16)
Further advancing the fledgling relations between Jerusalem and Beijing, China’s deputy minister for construction came to Israel this week, with an eye toward signing contracts for joint construction projects.
Tan Qing Lian arrived Monday, at the head of a delegation leaders of that country’s state-owned building industry. They had been invited by Israel’s Housing Ministry and the Contractors Association, a delegation of which visited China in September, aboard El Al’s inaugural flight to Beijing.
Israel’s deputy housing minister, Ran Cohen, who met the delegation at Ben- Gurion Airport, predicted that by the end of their visit the visiting delegation would sign contracts for joint construction projects.
He noted that with the present rate of economic expansion in China, the People’s Republic would become the largest construction market in the world, “and we should be there as this happens, and help them build.” During their visit to China, the Israeli contractors held what they described at the time as promising negotiations with the Chinese construction industry.
They had high hopes for successful joint venture projects involving Israeli know-how and equipment to foster large-scale road and housing construction projects throughout the vast country.
Tan was expected to invite Housing Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer to visit China.
President Chaim Herzog is due to pay an official visit to China at the end of the month.