Several Chinese and Japanese companies have cancelled delegations to Israel following US President Donald Trump's announcement recognising Jerusalem as its capital, according to Haaretz.
A number of Israeli start-up firms were informed on Saturday that Shen Haiyin, CEO and founder of the Chinese company Singulato, which is currently developing a miniature electric car, had cancelled his visit just six hours before his flight. A delegation from Tencet, China's largest internet company, also cancelled their scheduled visit following Trump's declaration.
The Chinese embassy has issued an official travel warning against visits to Israel valid until 10 January, amid fears regarding security, and how the conflict will impact its security programmes. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang warned last week that the decision would lead to greater tension in the region.
According to estimates, 10-20 per cent of capital for Israel's high-tech sector comes from China. However, it was not the only Asian country advising caution; Japanese firms are also expected to cancel trips, following in the footsteps of car manufacturing giant Toyota who did not arrive on Sunday as scheduled.
If the trend of cancellations continues, Israel could find itself battling public opinion in order to maintain business relations, in a similar way to its campaigning against the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
Trump's announcement was made despite the unanimous disapproval of the international community, with the US being the only backer of the decision to recognise Jerusalem as the Israeli capital. The move was condemned as provocative by the UN Security Council on Friday, and world leaders have reaffirmed their commitment to the two-state solution, fearful of how the move will impact the peace process.
Protests erupted across the Palestinian territories following Trump's decision, amid calls by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) for three days of rage. Violent responses to protesters left four dead, hundreds injured and over 100 detained, with many airstrikes carried out by Israeli forces on the besieged Gaza Strip.