Israel-China relations growing de... JPost - Diplomacy & Politics 2011-07-07 ( cited from jpost.com and written by DAVID ROSENBERG) -- Israel-China relations, which have focused on cooperation in high technology, have shown signs of widening over the last several months to encompass closer defense and security ties, and academic exchanges, people in the small community of bilateral specialists say. Ehud Barak visited China in June, the first time in over a decade by a defense minister of Israel, which at one time sold over half a billion dollars of weapons to China annually before US squeezed Israel to halt those ties in the late 1990s. Earlier in that month, Admiral Wu Shengli of the Peopleâ€™s Liberation Army Navy was in Israel. Two weeks ago, Sichuan International Studies University (SISU) announced the launch of Chinaâ€™s first ever Israel studies program. "The Israeli side values the development of military exchanges and cooperation with China and wishes to work together with our Chinese friends to raise military-to-military relations to a new level," China's Defense Ministry quoted Barak as saying during the visit. In the economic sphere, ties are showing signs of deepening as well. On Sunday, Israelâ€™s Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry signed a pact with National Development and Reform Commission, which will enable Israeli officials to cooperate and consult closely with Chinaâ€™s top economic-planning body. A week ago state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) reached the second stage of a competition to set up a joint venture factory in China to build executive jets with Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC). Scores of other smaller events also attest to deepening relations. Last December, a delegation of Likud Party officials led by Public Diplomacy Minister Yuli Edelstein met with their Communist Party peers in China. This autumn, the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Instituteâ€™s Center for Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) will host Chinese scholars on regional geopolitics. Trade has been growing enormously, expanding 28% in the first quarter of the year, compared with the same time in 2010. Still, it remains small â€“ at $1.28 billion in the first quarter, China took just 4% of Israeli exports â€“ but experts say that belies trade that reaches China through third countries and the extent of research and development cooperation. The two countries formally established diplomatic relations in 1992, nearly half century after the two states were founded. Defense ties actually flourished before that. Shrouded in secrecy, the Israeli defense sales to China were estimated at about $5.7 billion between 1984 and 1994, according to the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.according to the US Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. This was to culminate in a $1.2 billion deal to sell Beijing an early airborne radar system and drones, which Washington blocked in 1999. Israel paid $300 million in compensation to the Chinese. Shunning military deals in the years that followed, Israel and China embarked on cooperation in civilian technology â€“ Israel contributing innovation and China manufacturing.