Prior to departing Israel for an official visit to Lebanon, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a stark warning to Israel, according to which Washington could reduce its defense ties with Jerusalem over Israel’s growing cooperation with China. Pompeo cautioned that in the absence of Israeli re-evaluates its cooperation with China, it could see the US reduce “intelligence sharing and co-location of security facilities.”
The American top diplomat’s stern warning, which was made in an Israeli broadcast, comes at a time when Jerusalem and Beijing are negotiating a bilateral trade agreement, in which technological aspects are expected to be a major part of the discussions. Furthermore, overall exports of Israeli goods to China, excluding diamonds, rose by 50 percent over the past year, to some 4.7 billion dollars.
The United States is wary of China’s growing involvement in Israel, as well as of statements made by senior Israeli officials on even greater aspirations of Chinese involvement within the country’s growing market. Pompeo’s warning was issued just three months after U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette warned, while visiting Israel, that unless Jerusalem implements stringent screening procedures for Chinese investments, that intelligence sharing between the Israel and the United States could be at risk.