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« 4月    

What Does China’s Coronavirus Cover-Up Mean for Israel? – 中国的冠状病毒掩盖对以色列意味着什么?

United with Israel


As evidence mounts that China hid the initial outbreak in Wuhan, the question for Israel is whether it will be convinced—or forced—to scale back ties as tensions with America escalate.

By Ariel Ben Solomon, JNS

Growing calls for an investigation into China’s handling and possible cover-up of the coronavirus outbreak have observers debating the potential implications for both Israeli and U.S. policy on China.

In Israel, there was concern over Chinese penetration of key areas of the economy even before the pandemic.

China is Israel’s second-largest trading partner after the United States, with $11.5 billion in annual trade, according to data gathered by Bloomberg. However, in the aftermath of the global coronavirus pandemic the United States is likely to increase its pressure on Israel in this regard, some experts believe.

Carice Witte, the founder and executive director of the Sino-Israel Global Network & Academic Leadership (SIGNAL), told JNS, “Unless at the end of this Israel has a comprehensive plan ready for its relations with China that addresses U.S. concerns regarding Israel-China cooperation, it is highly likely that due to the fallout of the virus, the U.S. will ask Israel to limit its dealings with China.”

The only way Israel can prevent this, said Witte, is to take the initiative.

“If Washington sees that Jerusalem has taken sufficient precautions not only regarding Israel’s national security but also what the U.S. considers it own security issues, it may see no need to pressure Israel regarding a range of fields where we are working with China, from technology to infrastructure to academic research,” she said.

In 2015, Israel extended a 25-year offer to the state-controlled Shanghai International Port Group to operate its Haifa port, and Chinese investment in Israeli hi-tech has also spiked in recent years. Senior U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former national security adviser John Bolton, have warned that the United States will limit intelligence sharing if Israel does not restrict Chinese investment in the country. There was even a report that the U.S. Navy would stop its longtime operations in the Haifa port if the Chinese company took over its operation.

However, according to Efraim Inbar, president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies, despite the fact that China is an authoritarian state and may well have covered up the initial outbreak, delaying the response of other countries, including Israel, to the crisis, “Israel has to be very careful in its relations with Beijing.”

This, he said, is because the Chinese can decide whether or not to “allow North Korea to transfer sensitive technology to Israel’s adversaries,” though he noted that China tries not to leave fingerprints as to its involvement in such transfers.

In addition, he said, claims that China is “taking over” the Haifa port are overblown.

Great care must be taken, however, when dealing with China, for several reasons, said Inbar

“We should be careful in allowing Chinese firms linked to the government to control some of our infrastructure projects. Only recently [did] Israel establish an inter-ministerial committee to deal with foreign investment in sensitive parts of our economy.”

Furthermore, said Inbar, “dealings with Chinese entities might have problematic political consequences.”

There is increasing confidence that the coronavirus pandemic began in a laboratory in Wuhan, China, multiple sources who have been briefed on the details told Fox News. The sources propose that the initial transmission of the naturally occurring virus being studied in Wuhan was bat-to-human, and that “patient zero” worked at the lab. Some in the U.S. administration and the epidemiological community are more skeptical of this claim, but all agree on the extensive cover-up the Chinese government carried out after the outbreak was first detected, the report said.

However, Asia Times columnist David P. Goldman told JNS that While it is entirely possible that the Chinese authorities hid the true casualty rate in Wuhan, if so it was likely done to help contain the spread of the virus and ease anger against the government’s handling of the crisis. In addition, he said, even if an initial coverup of the outbreak did delay other countries’ response, “somehow the other Asian countries got on top of this much quicker than the West.”

‘Implications for the U.S. and Israel’
Nevertheless, there is increasingly harsh rhetoric coming out of the United States over China’s handling of the initial outbreak, as well as calls to punish China in some way, or even to decouple the U.S. economy from the growing world power.

China hawks in Congress are calling for China to be held accountable, with one of the latest moves in this regard being Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.) introducing legislation to allow Americans to sue China in federal court over the death and economic damage caused.


JNS的Ariel Ben Solomon




中以全球网络和学术领导机构(SIGNAL)的创始人兼执行董事Carice Witte告诉JNS:“除非以色列到此末期制定全面计划,以解决与中国的关系,以解决美国对以色列的担忧,与中国合作,由于该病毒的影响,美国极有可能要求以色列限制与中国的交往。”



2015年,以色列向国有的上海国际港口集团(Shanghai International Port Group)提供了为期25年的要约,以经营其海法港口,而中国近年来对以色列高科技的投资也猛增。包括国务卿迈克·庞培和前国家安全顾问约翰·博尔顿在内的美国高级官员警告说,如果以色列不限制中国在该国的投资,美国将限制情报共享。甚至有报道称,如果中国公司接管其行动,美国海军将停止在海法港的长期行动。

然而,根据耶路撒冷战略研究所所长埃夫拉姆·英巴尔(Efraim Inbar)的说法,尽管中国是一个独裁国家,很可能掩盖了最初的疫情,但却拖延了包括以色列在内的其他国家对这场危机的反应,“以色列与北京的关系必须非常小心。”











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