Prior to leaving for his state visit to China on Monday night, President Shimon Peres said that the visit is very important from both political and economic standpoints.

Peres has been to China in different capacities before and after the establishment of diplomatic relations. He is visiting on this occasion at the personal invitation of Chinese President Xi Yinping who is also secretary-general of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party.

It is the first visit to China by a president of Israel in more than a decade.

China is a great world and regional superpower, said Peres, emphasizing that enhanced relations with China are the strategic interests of both Israel and China.

Cooperative ventures in science and technology will be a major focus of discussion during the president’s visit. The Chinese are aware that Israel excels in these fields and are extremely interested in joining forces with Israel in different areas of scientific and technological research.

On a political level, there are also many things to talk about, said Peres, especially as China is keen to get a stronger toehold in the Middle East, and China and Israel are both interested in bringing about stability and advancing the peace process throughout the region. Both countries also have to cope with terrorism and to develop more sophisticated means of coping with it and overcoming it, particularly with regard to the use of non-conventional weapons by terrorist regimes and organizations.

Peres and his host will also discuss the current stalemate in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. This and the dangers posed by a nuclear Iran are likely to come up in other meetings that Peres will have with China’s top-ranking politicians.

Peres will have a very intensive schedule over the coming three days. In addition to his meetings with political figures, he will meet with the executives of China’s top companies, will be interviewed by seasoned interviewer Ma Hongtao on China’s leading television channel CCTV, and will open an account with with WEIBO, which is China’s answer to Facebook.

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