End Times News Update
Sign: Kings of the East
Scripture: Rev 16:12
News Source: My Way News
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Israel steps up security ties with China

May 24, 2:31 PM (ET)
By JOSEF FEDERMAN and CHRISTOPHER BODEEN

JERUSALEM (AP) – After a prolonged chill, security ties between Israel
and China are warming up.

With Israel offering much-needed technical expertise and China
representing a huge new market and influential voice in the
international debate over Iran’s nuclear program, the two nations have
stepped up military cooperation as they patch up a rift caused by a
pair of failed arms deals scuttled by the U.S.

The improved ties have been highlighted by this week’s visit to
Beijing by Israel’s military chief and a training mission to Israel by
the Chinese paramilitary force that, among other things, polices the
restive Tibetan and Muslim Uighur regions. Prime Minister Benjamin
Netanyahu is expected to travel to China in the coming weeks.

After their meeting Monday, both China’s chief of staff, Gen. Chen
Bingde, and his Israeli counterpart, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, hailed the
growing ties and held out the possibility of even closer military
cooperation.

Chen told the official China Daily that China “attaches importance to
the ties with the Israeli military and is willing to make concerted
efforts with the Israeli side to deepen pragmatic cooperation.”

In a statement released by the Israeli military, Gantz mentioned a
commitment to developing the relationship, including “joint courses
that are scheduled to take place.” It did not elaborate.

Such comments are a remarkable turnaround from just a few years ago,
when ties deteriorated after the failed arms deals.

Israel and China established diplomatic relations in 1992, and the two
countries traded military technology for nearly a decade. Some
military analysts believe that Israel helped China develop its J-10
fighter plane during the 1990s, a claim that both countries have
denied.

These ties suffered a blow in 2000 when the U.S. pressured Israel to
cancel the sale of a sophisticated radar system to China, fearing it
could alter the balance of power with Taiwan. The cancellation
infuriated China, cost Israel hundreds of millions of dollars, and
frayed ties.

Then, in 2005, the U.S. persuaded Israel not to service spare parts
for unmanned aircraft drones already sold to China, concerned that it
would upgrade China’s airborne anti-radar capability. Israel officials
say that Israel has since halted weapons sales to China.

But in recent months, relations have begun to improve. In June 2011,
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak traveled to China. Chen, the
Chinese military chief, visited Israel in August, and in December,
Israel’s paramilitary Border Police unit hosted a delegation from the
People’s Armed Police.

During the monthlong course, “cadets were taught a variety of
information, with an emphasis on fighting terror, dealing with
disturbances, self defense, open field combat and more,” according to
an Israeli police statement. It was the first such exercise, police
said.

This newfound cooperation has raised concerns among human rights
advocates. Israel’s Border Police serve on the front lines of
anti-Israel demonstrations in the West Bank and have been accused of
using excessive force dispersing crowds. It denies the allegations.

The People’s Armed Police, or PAP, has also been accused of using
excessive force, particularly in Tibet, a western region where the
indigenous Buddhist population has pushed for independence.

Policing Tibet is a small part of a challenging mission. Believed to
have as many as 1 million members, the PAP is responsible for
asserting government control over a rapidly changing society beset by
soaring numbers of protests, strikes and ethnic unrest by Tibetans and
Muslim Uighurs on China’s Central Asian frontier.

Set up in the early 1980s to take over domestic security from the
armed forces, the PAP has been derided for much of its history as
undisciplined. The units proved unfit to handle the Tiananmen Square
democracy demonstrations in 1989, forcing the Communist Party to call
in the People’s Liberation Army.

In the past decade, the government has launched a full-force upgrade.
It now has rapid-response, counterterrorism, anti-hijacking and other
specialized units.

Nicholas Bequelin, a China researcher at Human Rights Watch, said PAP
units engaged in “widespread abuses” in putting down a mass Tibetan
uprising in 2008, using live ammunition against unarmed protesters,
disappearances and other acts of disproportionate brutality.

He said the Israeli training “must include a human rights component,
such as the principle of proportionate use of force.”

Israeli officials rejected any notion of wrongdoing, saying that all
cooperation was “transparent” and done with the full knowledge of the
U.S. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were
discussing a sensitive diplomatic issue.

The Chinese Embassy in Tel Aviv did not respond to a request for comment.

According to Israeli diplomats and analysts, the interests on both
sides are clear. Israel has a strong interest in getting closer to a
rising world power, while China is interested in Israeli military and
technological know-how.

“I’m sure Israel does whatever it can to let the Chinese know that
despite limitations on military transfers, Israel still has a strong
will to attain good relations,” said Yoram Evron, a China expert at
Haifa University and the Institute for National Security Studies, a
Tel Aviv think tank.

He said he believes the warming ties were initiated by the Chinese,
who were caught off guard by the Arab Spring protests convulsing the
region in the past year and a half.

“Due to the Arab Spring, China may have the impression, a stronger
impression than before, that Israel is relatively stable compared with
other players in the region,” he said.

An Israeli diplomat involved in Asian affairs said the security ties
are part of a larger blossoming of relations. China is now Israel’s
third-largest trade partner, after the European Union and United
States. Bilateral trade exceeded $8 billion last year, roughly 20
percent higher than the previous year.

While those figures are minuscule for China, the diplomat noted that
China is very interested in some key industries in which Israel has
expertise. He cited Israeli water technologies in agriculture,
desalination and wastewater management.

He said Israel has signed number of trade agreements with China in
recent years, including a new scholarship program to bring 250 Chinese
university students to Israel annually. It also has expanded its
diplomatic presence in China with a new consulate in the city of
Guangzhou, and another one set to open in Chengdu next year.

Israeli officials acknowledged their motives go beyond trade. They
said they routinely raise concerns about Iran’s nuclear program with
China, which is both a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council
and which relies on Iran for roughly 10 percent of its oil supply.

Israel, like the West, believes Iran is trying to build a nuclear
bomb, and has hinted it will attack Iran if it concludes that
international diplomatic efforts to stop Iran have failed. An Israeli
attack could disrupt the flow of oil and send global energy prices
skyrocketing, a nightmare scenario for China.

So far, the Israeli lobbying has yielded mixed results. China has
helped pass four sets of economic sanctions against Iran, but has
tried to dilute the language.

“We would like to see them taking more concrete steps because they
have clout over Iran,” the diplomat said. “We explain that if the
issue is not resolved, it might affect stability in the Middle East.”

Bodeen reported from Beijing. Alexa Olesen in Beijing also contributed
to this report.

Source: My Way News
URL:
http://apnews.myway.com/article/20120524/D9UV7T2G1.html

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