Why America might support a Sino-Israel Free Trade Agreement
By: Dale Aluf, Director of Research and Strategy at SIGNAL.

Against the backdrop of heightened Sino-US tensions, Israel is due to enter its 8th round of negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China. The two nations wrapped up their 7th round in November 2019, and could very well finalize the deal by the close of 2020. The notion of one of America’s closest allies entering into such an agreement with its recently dubbed “strategic competitor” might cause one to raise an eyebrow. But if negotiated wisely, an FTA could, in fact, serve to benefit all three countries.

Since the release of its 2017 National Security Strategy, America has tightened restrictions on Chinese investment in sensitive technologies such as quantum computing and artificial intelligence, and has been encouraging its allies to follow suit.

Understanding China’s response to the Soleimani killing
By: Dale Aluf, Director of Research and Strategy at SIGNAL.

The assassination of Iran’s General Qassem Soleimani was a monumental event in the ongoing US-Iran rivalry, the consequences of which will resonate throughout the Middle East and beyond for some time to come. Israeli leadership has lauded the Trump administration’s actions, with PM Netanyahu recently telling the media that “Trump is worthy of full appreciation for acting with determination, strongly and swiftly.” But Israel’s second-largest trading partner, China, views this event in starkly different terms. In light of China’s expanding presence both in Israel and its backyard, Beijing’s response is important to examine.

At a press conference held shortly after the event, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Geng Shuang went beyond the usual calls for restraint singling out America and calling for all parties “to keep calm and exercise restraint and avoid a further escalation of tensions.” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi reinforced China’s position in a call to his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif, complaining that the “dangerous US military operation violates the basic norms of international relations and will aggravate regional tensions and turbulence.”

Chinese Human Rights Delegation Visits Israel
By: Dale Aluf, Director of Research and Strategy at SIGNAL.

Amidst allegations of abuses occurring in re-education camps in Xinjiang, and as protests continue to rage in Hong Kong, an official delegation from the China Foundation for Human Rights Development traveled to Israel last week for talks with Knesset members, think tanks, and academic institutions.

The visit, led by the former Vice-Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Mr. Huang Mengfu, aimed to foster deeper mutual understanding between the two countries on various human rights issues.

The Chinese Way: Cultivating Relationships and Building Trust
By: Dr.Aryeh Tepper, SIGNAL Senior Research Fellow and ISP Academic Advisor

What makes China so different from the West? Why are relations between Westerners and Chinese so often characterized by disparate expectations and missed communications? And how can Israel avoid falling into the trap of thinking in narrow Western terms when dealing with Beijing?

One major difference between China and the West is that relationship networks play a far more intense and decisive role in the lives of Chinese than in the lives of Westerners. This is the case because the sense of an authentic inner self that stands on its own, independent of relationships and societal influences, is far stronger in Western culture than in Chinese culture. This might sound like a strange notion at first hearing, but it cuts to the heart of the distinctive ways in which Chinese and Westerners navigate their way through the world, including the willingness to trust those who come from outside of one’s established network of relationships.

Everything Over the Heavens: A new arena for confrontation and cooperation
By: Dale Aluf, Director of Research and Strategy at SIGNAL.

There is an ancient Chinese idea that “under heaven’s canopy there is nowhere that is not the king’s land,” this is the concept of Tian Xia. China of the 21st Century has pushed its ambitions further than anything the ancient thinkers could have imagined. Since launching its first unmanned spacecraft in 1999, China has released itself from terrestrial constraints and propelled itself far above heaven’s canopy. The Chinese space program soared into the new millennium, as China became the third country to independently send humans into space in 2003. It has since expanded its space capabilities, launching a variety of prototype space-stations (Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2), as well as a cargo ship (Tianzhou), capable of refueling other spacecraft. 2018 saw China fire more rockets into space than any other nation in the world. A year later, China made history with Chang’e 4 – successfully landing the first rover on the dark side of the Moon. China has become one of the very few powers that have any sort of mastery over Earth’s immediate cosmos.

Changing world, shifting relations: Israel’s ties with China
By: Dale Aluf, Director of Research and Strategy at SIGNAL.

Israel and China are peculiar partners. In almost every way, they display contrasts as opposed to commonalities – across cultures, history, size, political systems, economic structures, and ideology. In the face of their differences, they have succeeded in cultivating flourishing economic relations, and today, China is Israel’s second-largest trading partner country. China’s relations with Israel are emblematic of the impact of the PRC’s vast international outreach over the past decade.

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SIGNAL Perspectives are written by experts on a range of issues within the China-Israel-Middle East space