Getting China on the sanctions boat


Andrew Jacbos of The New York Times comes out with an interesting piece on Israel-China ties that also explores how Israel tried to make the case to Chinese officials to support new U.N. Security Council sanctions on Iran:

JERUSALEM — During the many months China has wavered over whether to join the American-led effort to impose sanctions on Iran, Israeli officials have been waging their own quiet campaign to convince the Chinese that Iran should be punished for its renegade nuclear program.

But unlike the United States, which has played on China’s sense of responsibility as a member of the United Nations Security Council, Israeli officials have been making their case without diplomatic niceties.

In February, a high-level Israeli delegation traveled to Beijing to present alleged evidence of Iran’s atomic ambitions. Then they unveiled the ostensible purpose of their visit: to explain in sobering detail the economic impact to China from an Israeli strike on Iran — an attack Israel has suggested is all but inevitable should the international community fail to stop Iran from assembling a nuclear weapon.

“The Chinese didn’t seem too surprised by the evidence we showed them, but they really sat up in their chairs when we described what a pre-emptive attack would do to the region and on oil supplies they have come to depend on,” said an Israeli official with knowledge of the meeting and who asked for anonymity so as not to upset his Chinese counterparts.

Whether the Israeli show-and-tell persuaded Beijing to join the proposed sanctions announced by the White House late last month may never be known. But the episode demonstrates how Israel — a small country with limited influence on China — has found ways to engage an emerging superpower whose geopolitical heft is increasingly vital to the Jewish state.

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