Olmert: My connection to China is spiritual

Sunday, January 07, 2007 |  by Staff Writer
It may be a largely unknown fact, but Prime Minister has a very deep connection to China. A connection which goes back many years to the days his parents fled Europe and arrived in China prior to WWII, before immigrating to Israel.

The Prime Minister spoke this weekend to the Chinese news agency Xinhua in preparation for his three day visit to China this week which will mark 15 years of diplomatic relations between Israel and China.

“I have a spiritual connection to China. China is the country which hosted my parents. They studied in China, they grew up in China and they spoke Chinese. The Chinese culture is part of my upbringing and my memories as a young boy in Israel. China is not just another country for me. China is a big part of the legacy and memory of my family. We have great love for the Chinese People and we are grateful to the Chinese people for the warm and friendly treatment they gave the Jews in Shanghai and Harbin,” Olmert said in his interview.

Olmert will leave for China Monday for a three day visit where he will meet the heads of the Chinese regime in Beijing. During the visit Olmert will announce the opening of a representational office in the city of Guangzhou, which is considered the “silicon valley” of China and attracts billions in foreign investments. A large part of Olmert’s talks during the visit will be an attempt to persuade the Chinese to support broad sanctions against Iran.

In the interview, Olmert also welcomed greater Chinese involvement in the Middle East, saying that “anything China can do to promote political dialogue is something Israel will welcome always.”

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