An Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities delegation to Beijing has signed an agreement to continue and expand scientific cooperation in China. The original accord was signed in 1991, soon after diplomatic relations between the two countries were established.Prof. Ruth Arnon, the outgoing president of the academy in Jerusalem and a distinguished Weizmann Institute of Science researcher, headed the group and reported that they received an exceptionally warm reception. Their Chinese counterparts praised Israel and its scientists for their achievements.The academy acted early - already in 1990 - to promote scientific ties with China involving water and agriculture, even before diplomatic relations were established.Arnon said at the ceremony that the academy was thrilled to be a “pioneer” in advancing the countries’ scientific ties.She added that in recent years, joint scientific activity with China has flourished, with hundreds of Israeli scientists visiting there and with their Chinese counterparts visiting Israel in return. For example, two members of the Israel academy - Nobel laureates Prof. Aaron Ciechanover and Prof. Dan Shechtman - are currently setting up research instituters in China, which is investing a lot of money in new labs and advanced equipment.Dr. Meir Zadok, director-general of the academy in Jerusalem, said the Chinese are very eager to expand their scientific cooperation with Israel and are very updated on developments and achievements here.The Israelis were taken on a tour of bio-technology and nano-technology labs, as their hosts did their utmost to show them the best of Chinese science. They also met with Chunli Bai, president of the Chinese academy who has the status of a government minister.Earlier this month, a Chinese woman researcher named To Youyou received a Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.