WATCH: Peres lauds Sino-Israel ties ahead of Chinese Year of the Monkey

Former president in Chinese New Year address: What China did over the last 40 to 50 years is unmatched in history.

Former president Shimon Peres in video message ahead of Chinese New Year
Former president Shimon Peres released a video on Wednesday wishing China a happy New Year, praising Israel's growing ties with China and Chinese innovation.
"My dear friends," Peres opened, "I want to wish the Chinese people a Happy New Year, the Year of the Monkey."
Peres lauded the Chinese, saying the country stands as an example of progress and innovation for the entire world.
"You are offering the world a good example on how to escape poverty and ignorance and become one of the two major pillars of our time," praised Peres. 
"China is all the time innovating new things. What China did over the last 40 to 50 years is unmatched in history."
Peres praised the growing relationship between Israel and China which is "all the time growing in content and in future."
Wishing China a "happy year" and a "happy future," Peres closed his statements by saying "Happy New Year" in Chinese.
Festivities in China this year will get underway on February 7, the eve of the Year of the Monkey.
The former president recently attending the laying of the cornerstone for the first Israeli University in China, The Guangdong Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (GTIIT) in Shantou, in the Guangdong province of southeastern China.
At the ceremony in December, Peres said, “The establishment of a Technion campus in China is more proof that Israeli innovation is breaking down geographic borders. China is one of Israel’s major partners in technology and hi-tech, and there are over 1,000 Israeli companies active in China. I hope that the economic cooperation between these two countries will continue to expand, as both countries have much to share with – and learn from – one another.”
The university, set to enroll its first class of 200 students in 2016, will be comprised of three schools – the College of Engineering, the College of Science and the College of Life Sciences.
Areas of study will eventually include chemical engineering, materials engineering, environmental engineering, mechanical engineering, chemistry, mathematics, physics, biotechnology and food engineering, biology, and biochemical engineering.

Lidar Grave-Lazi and Reuters contributed to this report.