Today President Katsav received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Beijing, a degree which in the past hundred years has been awarded only to two leaders and which was authorized by the Degree Awarding Committee, at the request of the President of China.  In the evening President Moshe Katsav met with his counterpart, the President of China, Mr. Hu Jintao.

In the meeting with he President of China a variety of issues on the bilateral relations between China and Israel  were raised, as well as  the problem of terrorism and the situation in the Middle East.  At the beginning of the meeting, which took place in the People´s Hall, the Chinese President surprised those present by congratulating the People of Israel on the festival of Chanukah. President Katsav thanked his host and praised the shelter the Chinese had given the Jewish refugees who had fled the horrors of the Nazi oppressor during the Holocaust.

At the beginning of the meeting, President Katsav invited the President of China to Israel on a State Visit, which the President of China accepted. The President of China surveyed, at length, and praised the economic, cultural and scientific cooperation between the two countries, while stating that the cooperation in all fields must be increased, because of the mutual interests of both countries.

President Jintao suggested to his guest, President Katsav, a program of four sections to increase the cooperation between China and Israel:

1.  Strengthening the diplomatic relations at the highest level and increasing the meetings, which will include the President of China´s acceptance of the invitation to visit Israel.

2.  Strengthening the economic and trade relations, including inviting Israeli businessmen to invest in China, especially in regions in the west and north of the country.

3.  Deepening the cooperation in the fields of education and culture and other fields, not necessarily under government responsibility.

4.  Maintaining bilateral relations and mutual interests with a long term view of the bilateral relations.

The President of Israel accepted the four points raised by the President of China and suggested that two committees be established at the highest levels to implement the mutual vision of strengthening the relations.  Later during a private conversation, during dinner, the two Presidents agreed that the issue would immediately be passed on for handling to the Ministries of Foreign Affairs which would begin implementing the programs.

The President of Israel surveyed at length the situation in the Middle East and stressed the relations between Israel and the Palestinians, while stating that the terrorist activities of the terrorist organizations harm both the Israelis and the Palestinians.  President Katsav assured his host that if the terrorist activities are stopped, political negotiations with the Palestinians would be renewed and that the Palestinians would attain great achievements.

The President of China expressed the position of his country that they are completely opposed to terrorism and harming innocent citizens and expressed unequivocal support of the Roadmap as the only solution to the conflict in the Middle East and even proposed China´s assistance.

President Katsav stated that Israeli society is determined not to accept the continuation of attacks.

In reply to the question of President Jintao,in what way China can help the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, President Katsav said that China can encourage the Palestinians to stop the terror, a step which will immediately lead to a renewal of the political process.

It appears that the Chinese did everything possible to make the visit of the President enjoyable and the kitchen of the People´s Hall was especially made kosher for the state dinner by a rabbi,  new dishes were bought and at the d inner the military orchestra played "Jerusalem of Gold" and Israeli folk songs.

Especially touching was when the President of Israel and his wife were received by a large guard of honour and  the Chinese military band played "Hatikvah" in the huge hall.  During the dinner the two Presidents continued to discuss various issues.

Tomorrow President Katsav will meet with the Chairman of the 10th National People´s Congress (Speaker of the Parliament), Mr. Wu Bangguo, who is considered very important among the Chinese leadership, and with the Premier of the State Council, Wen Jiabao.  The new Israeli Embassy building in Beijing will also be inaugurated with the lighting of the first Chanukah candle and with the participation of the Israeli diplomatic corps, Israeli citizens living in China and Jewish members of the Diplomatic Corps serving in China.

The visit of the President of Israel in China received headlines and widespread coverage in the front pages of the Chinese newspapers, as well as a front page photograph of the President at the cow farm.