On Dec 26, 2017, SIGNAL, in cooperation with the Institute for Policy and Strategy at IDC Herzliya and the Israel Council on Foreign Relations, held its 2nd annual conference on Israel’s China Policy. This year’s conference, “China on the World Stage – Strategic Implications for Israel,” provided a forum for discussing China’s “New Era” and the Middle Kingdom’s engagement in the turbulent Middle East.
The conference was divided into two sections, a closed, morning session that simulated conflict between the US and North Korea, and afternoon round-table styled discussions open to the general public, conducted for an overflow crowd. The 4-hour, morning simulation included over a dozen scholars and experts from Israeli and Chinese think tanks, former diplomats and retired military personnel who represented the USA, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Israel, Japan and South Korea. North Korea’s representation included former Mossad director Efraim Halevy and former Chinese representative to the 6 Party Talks, Mr. Yang Xiyu.
With standing-room only, and people turned away at the door, the two afternoon discussions were devoted to, “China on the World Stage in the New Era of President Xi Jinping,” and, “China, the Middle East, and Israel in an Age of Change.” The first discussion featured Prof. Aron Shai (Tel Aviv Univ.), Prof. Huang Renwei (Shangai Academy of Social Sciences), Dr. Ariel Levite (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace), and Mr. Yang Xiyu (Executive Vice President, Institute of Boao Forum for Asia), while the second discussion included Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Gilead (IDC Herzliya), Amb. Ron Prosor (IDC Herzliya), Prof. Ye Heilin (Chinese Academy of Social Sciences) and Ms. Carice Witte (SIGNAL’s Executive Director).
Moderated by leading geopolitical commentators from the Israeli media, Mr. Oren Nahari and Ms. Tal Shalev, the discussions were marked by thoughtful insights that shed light on areas where Israel and China have converging views such as the need to advance regional stability. It highlighted China’s interests in the Middle East beyond energy to the land and sea routes planned for the Belt & Road Initiative. The speakers touched on some of the concerns and hesitations China and Israel share regarding global and regional developments and where we might work together more effectively to advance shared interests.
By bringing together scholars, experts, policymakers, and non-governmental industry leaders, SIGNAL has established “Israel’s China Policy Conference” as the premier vehicle for invigorating and guiding Israel’s conversation regarding the evolving Sino-Israel relationship.