Following the Chinese National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference this month, Beijing has engaged in some diplomatic activity to counteract the diplomatic isolation it has encountered as a result of its economic and military expansion.
The most important of these activities was the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The delegation — the biggest commercial Israeli delegation to have ever visited China — included five ministers and 90 businesspeople.
Netanyahu referred to cooperation between the two countries as “a match made in heaven.”
In late 1997, Israel agreed to sell China four Phalcon airborne warning and control systems, although following US pressure the deal was canceled in 1999.
China once again wants to buy military technology, but an even more important concern is to pave the way for a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), and the future of the China-US relationship.
One of the members of Trump’s team with the most influence over him is his son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Kushner is at most major events, and some media outlets have ascribed a comment that US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made during a visit to Beijing about Xi’s effort to create a “new type of great power relations” to Kushner.
Kushner is an Orthodox Jew, and his family initially opposed his marriage to Trump’s daughter Ivanka.
The two almost split up, but China-born Wendi Deng (鄧文迪), one of media mogul Rupert Murdoch’s ex-wives, helped bring them back together. As a result, Deng is close to the couple and the Chinese embassy in Washington sought her help when Ivanka brought her daughter to its Lunar New Year celebration on Feb. 1.
This means that if China is able to co-opt Israel, it would not only be able to ingratiate itself with Kushner, it would also be able to influence the Jewish community in the US.
The Jewish community is influential in US financial circles and several other industries, including the academic economics community, as well as the information and media industry, which gives it strong political clout.
Trump has been implying that he might start a trade war with China, but many Wall Street experts have been urging him to avoid such a move, as they say it would cause major damage to the US.
However, they have not mentioned the losses a trade war could inflict on China, whether Beijing would handle such a conflict and whether it would be able to moderate Beijing’s expansion of its sphere of influence.
As has been seen over the past 50 years of China-US relations, the US’ defensive approach will only prompt China to ask for more.
Two days before Netanyahu’s arrival in China, Beijing signed an agreement with the visiting king of Saudi Arabia in an attempt to balance the relationship between Israel and Saudi Arabia. The agreement included memoranda and letters of intent worth a combined US$65 billion.
The Center for Jewish Studies Shanghai (CJSS), which is part of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, is formally intended to study the Nazi genocide during World War II — in an attempt to please the West — but in practice, all historical research in China has to serve political realities.
China is exerting great effort to gain influence over the Jewish community to co-opt Trump and remove all obstacles to its over-arching strategy to take over world leadership.
Therefore, it is not strange that former American Institute in Taiwan director Stephen Young has expressed apprehensions about a Xi-Trump meeting.
With the US Jewish community becoming increasingly important to Taiwan-US ties, are any academics in Taiwan studying this issue? Some Taiwanese in the US are paying a great deal of attention to this issue and they have formed quite a good understanding of it.
It is an issue that Taiwan must begin to study and it must be included among its diplomatic strategies.
Taiwan should also study the strong resilience in support of Israel: There is a vast difference between the unity among Jewish people and the internecine fights among Chinese.
Paul Lin is a political commentator.
Translated by Perry Svensson
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