USA: Israel must be more vigilant about China’s involvement in high-tech

Israel must take greater steps to defend its tech industry from Chinese influence, a US government official said at an annual meeting on China-Israel relations on Thursday.

US Assistant Secretary for Multilateral Affairs and Global China Issues Jung H. Pak told the SIGNAL (Sino-Israel Global Network and Academic Leadership) conference that Israel needs to take additional steps to protect its “ advanced critical technologies” against Chinese investment.

Pak said the United States “does not want Israel and other countries in the region to decouple from China.” “We want to promote trade in a way that does not threaten our security and human rights values. »

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In recent years, the United States has pressured Israel to monitor its trade relations with China more closely, worried about its authoritarian rival’s influence and access to industry. high tech of the Jewish state.

In January, Israel reportedly informed US President Joe Biden’s administration that it would keep the White House informed of major agreements reached with China and that it was prepared to reconsider those agreements if the United States objected.

The Biden administration official told the SIGNAL conference that China does not adhere to widely respected foreign investment rules. “The principles are not accepted everywhere. On the contrary, in the past they have been used by China for unfair profit and unliberal purposes. »

Pak noted the extent of China’s access to and influence over Israel’s tech sector, from technology transfer programs to recruiting talent.

She said China’s multimillion-dollar investments in various capabilities, such as artificial intelligence (AI), come from “legitimate sources such as joint research developed with foreign universities, but also from flights and financial fraud”.

She added that Washington wants all of its allies to “raise awareness of these risks, engage in risk assessment and develop risk management measures.”

Also speaking at the conference, David Schenker, former US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs under Donald Trump, said that “Israel has been slow to understand the challenge.”

Although the bilateral relationship between the United States and Israel is resilient, he said, “an issue with China will cloud the relationship greatly.”

A security guard stands near the Huawei company logo during a new product launch event in Beijing, January 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

SIGNAL Founder and CEO Carice Witte told the conference that the high tech was “at the heart of the rivalry between the United States and China”.

“This rivalry has a very big impact on us. China is interested in Israel and looking for technology here, and at the same time it is deploying technology throughout the Middle East. As China becomes a major regional player, it is increasingly important that Israel formulates a clear policy towards it. »

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USA: Israel must be more vigilant about China’s involvement in high-tech


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