BEIJING : China’s Star of David

China and Israel are expected to formally end four decades of hostility this week when Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy arrives in the Chinese capital to sign a treaty establishing diplomatic relations. After a ceremony--probably on Friday--Levy and his Chinese counterpart, Qian Qichen, are expected to fly to Moscow for a new round of Middle East peace talks.

China has been frozen out of the Middle East talks thus far, sidelined by Israel’s refusal to deal with Beijing until diplomatic relations are established. Chinese leaders had previously said they would not recognize Israel until it withdrew from the occupied territories.

But Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens paid a secret visit to Beijing in November, and Deputy Foreign Minister Yang Fuchang became the most senior Chinese official to visit Israel when he went there last month to put the final touches on the agreement.