Israeli President Shimon Peres speaks during an interview in Jerusalem, April 3, 2014. Israeli President Shimon Peres spoke highly of achievements China had made in the past decades in poverty reduction and economic development, and called for closer Israel-China cooperation in trade, economy and scientific innovation, during an interview with Chinese media in Israel on April 3. (Xinhua/Li Rui)
JERUSALEM, April 8 (Xinhua) -- Israeli President Shimon Peres has spoken highly of achievements China had made in the past decades in poverty reduction and economic development, and called for closer Israel-China cooperation in trade, economy and scientific innovation.
China, an ancient civilization, has enjoyed vigorous and rapid economic and social development in the past few decades, Peres told Xinhua in a recent interview on the eve of his three-day visit to China, which starts Tuesday.
"The escape of China from poverty is eminent. The take of China to a new height of economy is the greatest positive event that ever happened in history. It never happened in such a size, such a height, and such a speed," he said.
It is "unbelievable" and "unprecedented" that China succeeded in resolving the issue of poverty without relying on foreign aid, said the veteran politician, who turns 91 years old in August.
"It was done in two stages, the first was to save China from poverty, and now the second is to promote China to the first rank of human development by the new leadership," he said.
From poverty to dignity and prosperity, China found its own path to development and is on the way to realizing the Chinese Dream, he added.
China's unique development model can be inspiring for countries in the Middle East to cope with poverty and unemployment and to advance their education and science, Peres said, adding that poverty elimination is key to the restoration of peace in the region.
"Maybe it's more important to negotiate poverty than to negotiate peace. If you save poverty, you can early go to peace. Because poverty and unemployment are also producers of terror and violence," he said.
When talking about Israel-China relations, Peres said that Chinese people and the Jews are both ancient peoples and have fostered profound relations which should be further nourished and enhanced by both sides.
Israel is too small to become an industrial power and can only live off scientific research, the president said, adding that China is large enough to have advanced research, strong ability to produce and a huge market.
The two countries are thus mutually supplementary in economy and scientific research and there is great potential for bilateral cooperation in the areas of economy, research, agriculture, medication and education, Peres noted, adding that trade between Israel and China reached a record high of more than 10 billion U.S. dollars last year.
In recent years, Chinese firms have started to build research centers in Israel and acquire Israeli companies, which is a move Israel welcomes "full-heartedly," he said.
Peres' upcoming visit to China will be his second to the country since he became Israeli president in 2007. He traveled to Beijing in August 2008 to attend the opening events of the Beijing Olympics.
Peres is due to leave the post of president in July, when his seven-year term expires. Before becoming Israeli president, he had served as the country's finance minister, foreign minister, defense minister and prime minister.