Author: David Batashvili, Research Fellow at Rondeli Foundation


China Radar: South Caucasus is a monthly publication by Rondeli Foundation (GFSIS) dedicated to China’s activities and influence in the three nations of South Caucasus.

With the global rise of great power tensions and competition related to China’s role in the world, Rondeli Foundation began to take a closer look at China’s role in our own region. Since July 2020, we have been publishing China’s Activities in the South Caucasus digest that exhaustively covers events and developments in this regard. China Radar builds on China’s Activities digest to provide experts, researchers, civil servants and other observers of China’s foreign strategy with a comprehensive summary of China’s political, diplomatic, economic, informational, soft power and other activities towards Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia as well as these nations’ stances and actions concerning China.

Sources of information provided in China Radar can be found in the issues of China’s Activities digest covering the relevant months unless indicated otherwise. All issues of both China Radar and China’s Activities digest can be found on Rondeli Foundation’s China Watch page.


China-Georgia Strategic Partnership

In February 2024, China introduced visa-free travel for Georgian citizens, who now can spend 30 consecutive days in China without a visa.


On 23 February, prime minister of Georgia Irakli Kobakhidze contrasted Georgia’s strategic partnerships with China and the United States. Kobakhidze said that from China Tbilisi saw “great interest in deepening these relations, which is also expressed in concrete steps,” while from the US there was “a seeming weakening of interest in a strategic partnership.


China’s Presence, Activities and Influence in the South Caucasus

Diplomatic Messaging

In a letter sent on 8 February to the president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Chinese leader Xi Jinping lauded the progress “made in the joint implementation of the One Belt, One Road Initiative.”


In a 9 February letter to the newly appointed prime minister of Georgia Irakli Kobakhidze, the Premier of China Li Qiang praised the development of two countries’ strategic partnership and the progress of their “Belt and Road cooperation.”


Technological Influence

According to a material published by Radio Liberty on 6 February, “70-80% of [Georgian] government agencies are equipped with Chinese surveillance cameras,” most state-controlled cameras being “from two Chinese companies Hikvision and Dahua Technology.” Hikvision’s partner company in Georgia stated it had “installed more than 2000 cameras for state agencies in Tbilisi alone.” In addition, “Tbilisi City Hall uses Hikcentral, a program created in China, for Chinese-made camera maintenance.”


Stances and Activities by Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia Benefiting China’s Foreign Policy

Support for China and its Policies

Following the Azerbaijani foreign ministry’s criticism of the democratic election held in Taiwan, on 5 February China’s ambassador to Azerbaijan Guo Min praised the ministry, because it had “for the first time issued a statement regarding the elections in the Chinese region of Taiwan,” meaning that Baku “confirmed its commitment to the one China principle and opposed Taiwan’s independence, providing valuable political support to the Chinese side.”


In a meeting with the Chinese ambassador on 22 February, prime minister of Georgia Irakli Kobakhidze “expressed the strong support of the Georgian government for the one-China principle.”