Author: Medea Ivaniadze, Junior Researcher at Rondeli Foundation
The digest covers China’s political, diplomatic, economic, and other activities in the South Caucasus region and relations between China and the South Caucasus countries. It relies on a wide variety of sources, including the Chinese media. It is worth noting that the Chinese media is controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (according to the World Press Freedom Index China is nearly at the bottom of the list and ranks 179th out of 180 countries).
- Deputy Prime Minister of Georgia and other officials attend the 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation
- Azerbaijan joins China’s International Lunar Research Station program
- Georgia’s Foreign Minister claims that the 14+1 format could be considered an EU approximation instrument
- Chinese MFA publication highlights cooperation agreements with Georgia, Azerbaijan
- Armenia’s Economy Minister met with Chinese companies’ representatives
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Deputy Prime Minister of Georgia and other officials attend the 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation
Source: Facebook/Eka Gulua
Journalist Eka Gulua reported that Georgian representatives attended the 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
“Georgia is also here – the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Economy Levan Davitashvili, the Georgian Ambassador [to China] Archil Kalandia and Davit Saganelidze,” Eka Gulua said on her Facebook account. Davit Saganeidzle is the Chairman of the Supervisory Council of the JSC Development Fund of Georgia.
The Facebook account of Eka Gulua says that she is the Founder and Managing Director at the Mcm Mtavari outlet and also Communications Specialist at the Georgian Parliament.
About the Forum Mcm Mtavari reported the following: “…President Xi Jinping addressed the guests, and then Vladimir Putin took the podium. This is Putin’s first visit abroad after [imposition of] the sanctions. The Georgian delegation participates in the forum…”
Images shared by Mcm Mtavari. Source: Mcm Mtavari
Deputy Prime Minister of Georgia delivers a speech at the 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation
Levan Davitashvili. Source: The Ministry of Economy of Georgia
Deputy Prime Minister of Georgia and the Minister of Economy Levan Davitashvili delivered a speech at the Promoting High Level Trade Connectivity session of the BRI Forum in Beijing, China, the Economy Ministry of Georgia reported.
Reportedly. he stressed that the Government of Georgia paid special attention to strengthening the country’s transit function and establishment of a trade and logistics hub in the region.
Azerbaijan joins China’s International Lunar Research Station program
Azerbaijan joined China’s International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) program of the China National Space Administration (CNSA), Chinese state-run CGTN reported on October 9.
The two sides signed a joint statement on cooperation on the ILRS program during the 74th International Astronautical Congress held in Baku.
According to the joint statement, “the two sides will carry out extensive cooperation in the demonstration, implementation, operation, and application of the program, including mounting scientific instruments, providing training to personnel and conducting scientific and technological experiments”.
Reportedly, the ILRS program, jointly initiated by China and Russia in 2021, aims to build a lunar base and carry out lunar research and exploration.
Azerbaijani Energy Minister says that BRI serves “development, security, and stability”
On October 18, during his speech at the “Connections” event of the 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in China, the Energy Minister of Azerbaijan Parviz Shahbazov said that the establishment of Zangezur Energy Transport Corridor would open the way for the development of the Middle Corridor with new branches, Azernews reported.
He said that all this and six Azerbaijani oil and gas pipelines connecting continents and seas were real examples of combining China’s megaproject with Azerbaijan’s national initiative “Creation of 7 GW of ‘green energy’ capacity by 2030,” and that 5 GW of these would be exported along the Caspian-European Union and Azerbaijan-Turkey-Europe corridors, with plans to transmit electricity from Central Asia to Azerbaijan and from there to Europe enriching the Belt and Road Initiative with green connections.
The Minister also noted that the BRI served “development, security, and stability over a vast area by providing alternative transport corridors to manage uncertainties in the global supply chain and routes that diversify the delivery of energy resources to world markets”.
Reportedly, Azerbaijan also joined the “Beijing Initiative on Deepening Cooperation in the Field of Communications” adopted at the forum.
Georgia’s Foreign Minister claims that the 14+1 format could be considered an EU approximation instrument
The Foreign Minister of Georgia Ilia Darchiashvili reported to the Parliament after being summoned by MPs Teona Akubardia, Khatuna Samnidze, Tariel Nakaidze, Tamar Kordzaia, Ana Buchukuri, Alexander Motserelia, Beka Liluashvili, Mikheil Daushvili and Shalva Kereselidze, the Parliament stated on October 20. The discussion issue was foreign policy, China and the Georgia-China strategic partnership.
“…the geopolitical context that the international community including Georgia encounters today has been even further aggravated and complicated. And Georgia has to address this complicated milieu while realizing all the foreign political objectives and tasks that have been outlined. The Georgia-China relations shall be envisioned within a uniform angle of the current geopolitical situation”, Darchiashvili said.
With other issues, he claimed that the Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries, the 14+1 format, could be considered an EU approximation instrument:
“Being within a uniform format of the Central and Eastern European cooperation is imperative to the extent that Georgia enjoys an opportunity to once again identify itself and its place in the European space, to confirm the fact that in political and geographic terms, Georgia is an integral part of Europe. 14+1 format can be considered as an additional EU approximation instrument, especially against the background of the statement made concerning our EU candidate status”.
Georgian Dream MP says that China is Georgia’s natural ally and natural partner
The Parliament MPs summoned the Foreign Minister of Georgia Ilia Darchiashvili to discuss foreign policy, China and Georgia-China strategic partnership. Meanwhile, Georgia’s ruling party Georgian Dream MP, Nikoloz Samkharadze, also addressed the Parliament about Georgia-China strategic partnership.
Samkharadze said: “…In addition to the trade and economic direction, it is strategically important for us to cooperate very closely with China within the framework of our non-recognition policy, because the principle of territorial integrity is also very important for China, as it also has problems in this direction. Therefore, in this case, China is our natural ally and natural partner”.
On China’s and some European countries’ cooperation framework 14+1, formerly known as 17+1, he claimed that “Baltic countries saw that this project would not bring anything for them economically, if we look at the map we will see that there is only one way from China to the Baltic countries and this is Russia’s road that will be closed for a long time. They acted according to their own interest. But we have our own interest…”
Samkharadze also criticized the opposition and implied that a country cannot criticize China if it wants to have trade-economic relations with it: “With such rhetoric, on the one hand, you attack China and blame it for a thousand troubles, and on the other hand, invite it to invest in here and develop trade and economic relations – in which diplomacy does it fit?”
He commented on a statement about multilateralism and claimed the following: “…Multi-vector policy does not mean that we refuse to join the European Union and join NATO. In general, if our opponents are interested in the worldview of the European Union, I would like to tell them that the European Union sees the world precisely from the principle of multilateralism, as it is written here in the text, and it is moving towards a world agenda based on multilateralism. Therefore, here… we are responding exactly to this principle”.
Samkharadze also answered the opposition’s question regarding what should Georgia and China share in terms of good governance, which seems to be implied by the statement in the Strategic Partnership agreement about the exchange of experience in governance between China and Georgia.
“In this text, it is written that all this happens within the framework of the United Nations and I think we have not deviated from the main goals of the United Nations. On the contrary we want the United Nations to be the organization that determines the world agenda…” Samkharadze claimed.
Chinese MFA publication highlights cooperation agreements with Georgia, Azerbaijan
On October 18, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China published a publication entitled “List of Practical Cooperation Deliverables of The Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation”.
The first section of “Bilateral Cooperation Documents” in the first paragraph noted that the Chinese government signed cooperation plans or action plans of BRI with the governments of Argentina, Mauritania, Georgia, and Serbia.
In this section, it was also written that the National Development and Reform Commission of China had signed documents on promoting industrial investment cooperation with the Ministry of Economy of Azerbaijan. The document also said that the National Energy Administration of China signed cooperation documents with the Ministry of Energy of Kazakhstan and the Ministry of Energy of Azerbaijan.
Georgia’s Deputy Minister of Economy says that Georgia-China cooperation has moved to the highest level
The Deputy Minister of Economy of Georgia, Genadi Arveladze, said that Georgia-China cooperation had moved to the highest level. East Day reported his comments on October 18.
“The cooperation has moved to the highest level, especially this year when we declared a Strategic Partnership between China and Georgia. This moved the bilateral economic relationship to a strategic level and we are happy to see these developments. This means more cooperation in initiatives, more trade, more transportation and logistics hub development between the two countries, and more investments. So, we are looking forward to seeing more investments and more trade between China and Georgia…” Arveladze said.
Georgia’s Deputy Prime Minister “highly appreciates” Xi Jinping’s BRI eight steps
Georgia’s Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development Levan Davitashvili said he highly appreciated the eight actions announced by the CCP Chairman Xi Jinping, Chinese state-run China Daily reported on October 22.
During the 3rd BRI Forum, Xi Jinping announced eight major steps China will take “to support high-quality Belt and Road cooperation”.
China and Azerbaijan discuss expanding legal and institutional cooperation between the prosecutor’s offices
During his visit to Beijing, Azerbaijan’s Prosecutor General Kamran Aliyev met with his Chinese counterpart Ying Yong, Azertac reported on October 19.
Reportedly, Ying Yong hailed the successful cooperation between the “friendly countries of Azerbaijan and China in many fields”. The two exchanged views on the prospects of expanding legal and institutional cooperation between the prosecutor’s offices within the bilateral and international platforms. The sides agreed to sign a memorandum on cooperation in the fight against crime, protection of citizens’ rights, and reciprocal visits.
The Deputy Prime Minister of Georgia says that attracting more Chinese companies to Georgia is the Georgian government’s “great interest”
The 8th session of the joint commission for trade and economic cooperation between Georgia and China was held in Beijing under the co-chairmanship of the Deputy Prime Minister of Georgia Levan Davitashvili and the Deputy Minister of Commerce of China, Ling Ji, the Ministry of Economy of Georgia reported on October 16.
They discussed trade and economic issues, prospects of deepening of free trade, investment relations, agriculture, transport, logistics and infrastructure, information technologies and innovations, tourism, etc.
Davitashvili reportedly emphasized that there were opportunities for more economic cooperation between Georgia and China in various directions.
He also noted that it was the Georgian government’s “great interest” to attract more Chinese companies and investments to Georgia”.
Armenia’s Economy Minister met with Chinese companies’ representatives
On October 19, during his visit to China, the Armenian Minister of Economy Vahan Kerobyan held a meeting with representatives of a number of companies from China’s Jiangsu province, Armradio reported. They discussed cooperation possibilities.
Reportedly, the Chinese side expressed interest in opening a cement factory in Armenia and establishing tractor production, creating a tractor assembly area, and exporting the products to neighboring markets.
They also discussed the possibilities of expanding cooperation in the energy field.
A MOU was signed between Azerbaijan’s Energy Ministry and China’s National Energy Administration
On October 17, Trend reported that the Minister of Energy of Azerbaijan Parviz Shahbazov held a meeting with the Administrator of the National Energy Administration of China Zhang Jianhua on the sidelines of the 3rd BRI forum in China.
They discussed the opportunities for SOCAR Trading to expand its operations in the Chinese market. A Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Energy of Azerbaijan and China’s National Energy Administration was also signed.
Reportedly, the document provides for “the expansion of bilateral relations in the energy sector of both countries, cooperation in the application of new technologies, the renewal of energy infrastructure, the promotion of mutual investment and business activity, the exchange of experience in the field of renewable energy sources, as well as in the form of joint conferences, forums, and trainings”.
Chinese Embassy representative says Huawei actively participated in the digital reform process in Azerbaijan
Huawei Technologies Azerbaijan held Seeds for the Future Closing Ceremony in Baku, Chinese state-run China Daily reported on October 14.
The General Manager of Huawei Azerbaijan David Xu said that Huawei was pleased to support Azerbaijan in bringing the digital world to the Azerbaijani people, “providing access to the latest digital technology to every young person in the most comprehensive way”.
The Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Azerbaijan Chi Ma noted that Huawei actively participated in the digital reform process in Azerbaijan, and continued “to provide high-quality products and technological services to Azerbaijan people”.
CCP representative says Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia are closely involved in BRI implementation
The Deputy head of the International Relations Department of China’s Central Committee of the Communist Party Li Shijia said at the meeting of the management of the International Relations Department of the Central Committee of the CCP with media representatives participating in the 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation that Azerbaijan, Russia, Moldova, Kazakhstan and Georgia are closely involved in the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative, Azertac reported on October 20.
Li Shijia expressed gratitude to Azerbaijan, Russia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, and Georgia for their close involvement in the BRI and their support, adding that relations with these countries occupy an important place in China’s foreign policy.
Georgia and China discussed cooperation prospects
On October 17, the Chinese state-run Global Times reported that the Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao met with Georgia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Levan Davitashvili in Beijing.
Wang said that Georgia was an important partner in the Belt and Road Initiative. He also said that China was willing to work with Georgia to promote the upgrading of the free trade agreement, strengthen the digital economy and investment cooperation, and develop logistics cooperation with Georgia.
Davitashvili noted that Georgia attached great importance to trade ties with China and was willing to expand exports to China, strengthen regional connectivity, and create a good environment for Chinese companies to invest in the country.
Davitashvili also said that they discussed “important potential investment projects” including strengthening the Middle Corridor, investments in the field of transport, and logistics, investments in the innovation and technology fields, and strengthening trade relations and overcoming trade barriers.
Chinese Embassy representative publishes an article in Georgian media
He wrote positively about China’s economy, discussed the so-called “benefits” of the Belt and Road Initiative, and touched upon China-Georgia relations.
According to Xu, cooperation between China and Georgia within the framework of the BRI had a wide perspective. He wrote that the Chinese side had invested a total of 800 million US dollars in Georgia while noting that Hualing Group was the main Chinese investor in Georgia, its total investments exceeding 600 million US dollars.
Xu also wrote that bilateral cooperation in industrial parks, finance, energy and other fields was deepening.
The Chinese side expressed hope that they would be able to use the opportunity created by the 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to plan and advance bilateral cooperation within the framework of the BRI together with the Georgian side and promote the development of the Middle Corridor.
Georgian Ambassador to China discussed Georgia-China cooperation in education
On October 21, the Ambassador of Georgia to China, Archil Kalandia, was invited as an honored guest to the Peking University, at the opening ceremony of “The Peking University International Cultural Festival”.
Reportedly, during his speech, he noted “the importance of bilateral cooperation between the two countries in terms of higher education, scientific research centers and student exchange”.
AZAL launches Baku-Beijing flights
On October 10, Azertac reported that the national air carrier of Azerbaijan AZAL had launched Baku-Beijing-Baku flights. The first flight in this direction was scheduled for December 19.
Reportedly, flights from Baku to Beijing and back will be operated twice a week.
Georgian journalist comments positively about BRI
On October 18, the Chinese state-run China Daily published a comment by a Georgian journalist, Eka Gulua who was in Beijing to cover the 3rd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.
Reportedly, she said that the Chinese companies had implemented many projects in Georgia such as tunnels and bridges, and noted that BRI cooperation was “the best way to connect economies to economies, business to business, and countries to countries”. “It’s our new future,” Gulua added.