China’s vice president and Israel’s prime minister have kicked off a joint innovation summit — where the two countries are working to cement their fast-growing relationship.

China’s Vice President Wang Qishan, right, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tour the Israeli Innovation Summit in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, Pool)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu avoids a toy car controlled by China’s Vice President Wang Qishan as they tour the Israeli Innovation Summit in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, Pool)

Wang Qishan and Benjamin Netanyahu toured a number of exhibits by high-tech Israeli start-ups focused on self-driving cars, health care and agriculture. They were scheduled to attend an evening gala event and the opening of an Israeli innovation center on Thursday.

China’s Vice President Wang Qishan, right, laughs as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahumakes a face as they tour the Israeli Innovation Summit in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, Pool)
China’s Vice President Wang Qishan listens during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, Pool)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu talks during a meeting with China’s Vice President Wang Qishan in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, Pool)

Wang, a close confidant of President Xi Jinpin, is one of the most senior Chinese officials to visit Israel since the countries established diplomatic relations in 1992.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, and China’s Vice President Wang Qishan sit during their meeting in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, Pool)
Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan, centre, gestures as he attends a memorial ceremony at the Hall of Remembrance as he visits the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. (Gali Tibbon/Pool Photo via AP)
Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan and his entourage attend a memorial ceremony at the Hall of Remembrance as he visits the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum in Jerusalem, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018. (Gali Tibbon/Pool Photo via AP)

China has become Israel’s third largest trading partner, behind only the U.S. and the European Union. Israel exported $2.8 billion to China in the first half of 2018, an 80% jump from last year.

Source: The Associated Press

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