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Israel rejects Chinese bid to build Sorek 2

Christian Fernsby ▼ | May 27, 2020
Israel has selected local company IDE Technologies, rather than a Chinese firm, to construct the world’s largest desalination plant, the government announced Tuesday.
Sorek 2
Desalination   Sorek 2
The decision avoids another undesirable showdown with the Trump administration over Chinese participation in major infrastructure projects.

Topics: Israel Chinese

Three groups bid to build Sorek 2, a private-public partnership (PPP) that will be the world’s largest reverse-osmosis seawater desalination plant when completed in 2023.

Among them was Israeli Hutchison Company, an affiliate of Hong Kong-based Hutchison Company.

The U.S. has asked its allies, including Israel, in recent weeks to sever ties with China Israel’s third-largest trading partner in areas with security risks, a U.S. official with knowledge of talks on the matter said last week.

In the same vein, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman chose Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel as the first minister in the new government with whom he held a meeting, along with Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Zvi Hauser, the other member of the Derech Eretz faction.

Sources in Derech Eretz confirmed that the matter of 5G and Chinese technological investments in Israel came up in the meeting.

Friedman invited Hendel to Washington to meet with government officials in his field and deepen cooperation between the countries on communication technologies.

The US has argued that Chinese companies will use their involvement in building 5G networks for espionage or possibly sabotage of communications infrastructure.

Earlier this year, US Attorney-General William Barr said Chinese dominance in this sphere would be a “monumental danger” because of its use for spying, adding that America’s “economic future is at stake.”