Israel to Co-op with China in Railway Project
   2011-09-20 21:45:46      Web Editor: Xu

Israeli Minister of Transport and Road Safety, Israel Katz (middle), smiles to reporters when he meets press in Beijing Tuesday afternoon, on September 20, 2011. [Photo: Fei]

Israel is negotiating with China to jointly construct a gigantic railroad network that would link the red sea with the Mediterranean Sea.

The Israeli Minister of Transport and Road Safety, Israel Katz, made the statement Tuesday afternoon, the last day of his week-long China trip.

The Israeli minister said the project is designed to function as a tunnel for the delivery of goods from Asia to the Mediterranean Sea, the world's largest marine area which is almost completely enclosed by land.

Israel Katz said he believes China, the second largest economy in the world, would be interested in developing such a project since the export to Europe and the US could be facilitated once the railroad was put into use.

Israel also hopes to realize the project by adopting China's technologies used in its speed trains despite a fatal train collision that took place in Wenzhou in July.

Israel Katz said the tragedy is merely an accident which wouldn't affect his trust in China's capacity to handle specific railway projects in Israel.

"I believe in your high standard of technology and this is just an accident. According to what I've heard and seen, I have no doubt in China's capability in undertaking a similar railway project in Israel."

He added that this cooperative project would not only lead to the participation of Chinese railway companies in the construction project, but attract many Israeli companies to pursue business development in China.

Statistics show almost 40% of Israel's GDP comes from exports. That makes cooperation deals with China particularly important, as Israel hopes to become bigger player in Chinese market, one of the biggest potential consumer markets in the world.

Mr Katz also said that Israel also set a 220 billion yuan budget for a five-year scheme that supports both the government-to-government cooperation projects and attracts Chinese companies to make investments in Israel.

During his stay in China, Katz has also exchanged ideas with China's Minister of Transport Li Shenglin and visited Shanghai and Tianjin ports as Israel plans to increase the number of ports in their country.

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