>> Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with officials in Beijing on Monday, a concrete step in Israel's pivot to Asia. The Prime Minister says he wants to do more business in the region and China is expected to be a key player. Reuters Ben Blanchard explains why.>> There's already close cooperation between, for example, technology firms from both companies, from both countries.
Obviously, the Israeli economy is far, far smaller than the Chinese economy. Israel doesn't really have a domestic market. So for Israeli firms, China is really a crucial part of that technology push, of that export push. Israel has also been enthusiastic to get Chinese tourists to come. And so, on that side, there is also increasing people to people corporation.
>> Israel's exports to China have more than tripled in the past ten years, and the number of Chinese tourists visiting Israel is up nearly 40% from 2015. But when it comes to bolstering ties between the two sides, Israel's former ambassador to China says his country needs more from Beijing which routinely sides with the Arabic nations at the UN.
>> China also has a very close relationship with Iran. Israel is extremely suspicious of Iran because of its nuclear and missile programs. Certainly, China does have to balance its interests in the Middle East. Make sure it's not being seen to be taking sides, really with any side and that of course is going to be extremely difficult for it to do.
Results at the end of the day, no matter what China does, somebody is presumably going to see what they're doing as taking sides.>> China's one belt, one road trade initiative is being tipped as a critical tool for business with the Israel. But that's sure to be another delicate balancing act given Beijing also wants the likes of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Lebanon on board.