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).
- Georgian Dream fraction Chairman on Georgian President: If it were not for our act of declaring it illegitimate, what kind of embarrassment would we have faced in front of our Chinese colleagues?
- Tbilisi hosts the ninth Georgia-China Xinjiang Commodity Exhibition, sponsored by the Xinjiang Sub-Council of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade
- The Chinese Ambassador promotes the GCI at the Culture Committee of the Georgian Parliament
- The Chinese Minister-Counsellor says active work was ongoing to start direct flights between Armenia and China
- Azerbaijan’s Deputy Prime Minister and China Energy International Group President discuss cooperation prospects
- Georgian Education Minister presents special prize to the Chinese Embassy
- Armenia’s Labor Minister says Crossroads of Peace project is in line with the BRI
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Georgian Dream fraction Chairman on Georgian President‘s statement: If it were not for our act of declaring it illegitimate, what kind of embarrassment would we have faced in front of our Chinese colleagues?
When asked whether people should expect another dispute in the Constitutional Court due to the Georgian President Salome Zourabichvili’s visit to the Czech Republic, the Chairman of Georgia’s ruling Georgian Dream faction, Mamuka Mdinaradze in his answer recalled the recent event concerning Zourabichvili and China:
“We already gave this a name, and therefore she no longer has the kind of legitimacy that presidents generally have. Fortunately, this helps in some cases. For example, the impeachment had already been announced and it was not done because of the United National Movement [party], and our decision saved us when Salome Zourabichvili made a statement about the President of China. If it were not for our act of declaring it illegitimate, what kind of embarrassment would we have faced in front of our Chinese colleagues?” Interpressnews reported his answer on December 11.
Tbilisi hosts the ninth Georgia-China Xinjiang Commodity Exhibition, sponsored by the Xinjiang Sub-Council of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade
A photo from the event. Source: Agenda/Ministry of Agriculture
On December 6-8, Georgia’s capital Tbilisi hosted the ninth Georgia-China Xinjiang Commodity Exhibition showcasing wine and other alcoholic beverages, fruit juices, dry fruits, spices, textile and light industry products produced in Xinjiang, China, the Agenda reported.
The Georgian Deputy Agriculture Minister Iuri Nozadze attended the opening ceremony of the exhibition and “highlighted the importance of the fair in establishing business ties between the two countries”.
Reportedly, China’s Ambassador to Georgia Zhou Qian and delegates from Xinjiang attended the exhibition.
The exhibition was sponsored by the Xinjiang Sub-Council of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade.
The Chinese Minister-Counsellor says active work was ongoing to start direct flights between Armenia and China
At the Eurasian Research on Modern China and Eurasia conference organised by the China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research Foundation, the Minister-Counsellor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and Secretary-General of the Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation Commission of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Wei Zheng, announced that active work was being done to start direct flights between Armenia and China, News.am reported on December 8.
In her speech she said that the Belt and Road Initiative “was based on the ideas of solidarity and mutual aid, mutual benefit, and the pursuit of common good”. The Minister-Counsellor also added that in this concept there was “no place for ideological confrontations, geopolitical games, and economic blackmail”.
Chinese Ambassador promotes the GCI at the Culture Committee of the Georgian Parliament
Zhou Qiang. Source: The Embassy of China in Georgia
On December 4, the Embassy of China in Georgia reported that the Chinese Ambassador Zhou Qian was invited to the annual meeting of the Advisory Council of the Culture Committee of the Parliament of Georgia.
In his speech, Zhou thanked the Chairman of the Culture Committee of the Parliament and Georgian Dream Party member, Eliso Bolkvadze, for inviting him.
The Ambassador talked positively about Xi Jinping’s Global Civilization Initiative in his speech. Zhou Qian said that “only by rejecting the black-and-white Cold War mentality and vigorously promoting civilizational equal exchanges can mankind work together to respond to global risks and challenges and achieve common development”.
He also noted that Georgia supported the Global Civilization Initiative and that the two sides would actively cooperate to jointly implement it.
Georgian and Chinese sides discuss possible support for “the citizens living in the occupied territory of Abkhazia”
A photo from the meeting. Source: Abkhazia.gov.ge
On December 15, the Minister of Internally Displaced Persons of the Autonomous Republic of Abkhazia, David Patsatsia, met with representatives of China, the Acting Governor of China’s Xinjiang’s Karamay Su Wei, Karamay’s Dushanzi District Mayor Liu Henge, “the Director of the Municipal Economic Cooperation Service Center” Bai Lu, the Acting President of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Georgia Steve Yu, the Advisor to the Minister of Environment Protection and Agriculture of Georgia, and the Director of the Institute of China Studies, Jemal Putkaradze.
At the meeting, they talked about the priority directions and the development of cooperation, “including the support of the citizens living in the occupied territory of Abkhazia, those displaced from Abkhazia, and the implementation of humanitarian aid”.
According to Patsatsia, “one of the main tasks of the legitimate government of Abkhazia is to support the people displaced from Abkhazia and living in the occupied territory of Abkhazia by all possible methods, in which the support of our friends is very important and we are actively working in this direction”.
The Chinese side wishes to cooperate with the cities and municipalities of Georgia
A photo from the meeting. Source: Georgia Online
On December 9, Georgia Online reported that members of the delegation of the Education and Science Committee of the Parliament of Georgia under the framework of an official visit to China met the Deputy Chairman of the Shanghai Local Legislative Body Xiao Huilin. Reportedly, they also held a meeting with the Chairman of the Education, Science, Culture and Public Health Commission.
The committee Chairman Givi Mikanadze spoke about the prospects that could develop with Shanghai in terms of education, science, trade and economic cooperation in the future.
The Chinese side expressed a desire to cooperate with the cities and municipalities of Georgia.
Azerbaijan’s Deputy Prime Minister and China Energy International Group President discuss cooperation prospect
A photo from the meeting. Source: Business Lend
Azerbaijan’s Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev met with the President of China Energy International Group Co. Ltd Xubin Qiao, Business Lend reported on December 7.
Potential initiatives for Azerbaijan’s “inexperienced power capabilities” were mentioned at the meeting, emphasizing the “significance of the signed cooperation paperwork” in this field, and upcoming work and future objectives were reviewed.
Reportedly, the assembly additionally mentioned restoration and building work carried out within Azerbaijan’s regained territories.
The national air carrier of Azerbaijan’s partnership with China’s Hainan Airlines
The national air carrier of Azerbaijan, AZAL, entered into a special prorate agreement with China’s Hainan Airlines, Aviation source news reported on December 15.
Reportedly, the partnership will foster seamless travel to new destinations through Baku, Azerbaijan, and Being, China.
The report said AZAL passengers were gaining access to 28 diverse destinations served by Hainan Airlines across China.
Georgia’s International Educational Center, which was established in 2014 at the initiative of Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, held a summary event of 2023, which was opened by the Minister of Education and Science of Georgia, Giorgi Amilakhvari, Interpressnews reported on December 16.
At the event, Amilakhvari presented special prizes to the embassies of China, France, USA, Italy and Hungary in Georgia for “close and fruitful cooperation” in 2023.
Chinese Ambassador says high-level visits and contacts between the Chinese and Georgian governments contribute to the deepening of cooperation
On December 11, Agenda reported that according to the Chinese Ambassador to Georgia Zhou Qian, high-level visits and contacts between the governments of China and Georgia contribute to the deepening of cooperation in various fields, and the results were achieved through “bilateral pragmatic cooperation”.
While discussing Georgia’s location, he also pointed out that “exploiting this advantage required coordination and joint support between China and the EU”.
The Ambassador added that an increasing number of Chinese companies were interested in making investments in Georgia after the countries had established the strategic partnership.
Azertac Chairman says that “humanism” is the main component of the BRI
On December 13, the Chairman of the Board of the Azerbaijan State News Agency, Azertac, Vugar Aliyev told Chinese state media Xinhua News Agency that the China-organized World Media Summit provided “extensive opportunities for media representatives to exchange their experience, learn from partners, share their own views, explore ways of resolving problems and discuss the future”.
He also told Xinhua that information exchange among media outlets was “the key component of the partnership, and a well-functioning mechanism in this direction would enable the solution of many pressing problems such as fakes, disinformation, and manipulation”.
Aliyev also said that China had become one of the leading platforms for media cooperation around the world.
On the Belt and Road Initiative, he said it had significantly altered the economic, transport, and logistical systems of many countries.
“I am pleased that humanism is the main component of this initiative,” he added.
The Baku State University and the Beijing Foreign Studies University sign MoU
A photo from the event. Source: Azertac
As part of the working visit to China, the Baku State University (BSU) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation with Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU), Azertac reported on December 9.
Reportedly, the MoU provides for “the acceleration of the work between the two Universities to establish joint dual degree programs in the fields of science, education, and culture in the future, implementation of joint projects, development of academic, scientific, and cultural exchange opportunities, cooperation in scientific research, exchange of bachelors, masters, joint organization of various events in other areas of mutual interest, including conferences, seminars, symposia, and training”.
Armenia’s Labor Minister says Crossroads of Peace project is in line with the BRI
At the Eurasian Research on Modern China and Eurasia conference, organized by the China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research Foundation, while discussing the China-Armenia relations, Minister of Labor and Social Affairs of Armenia, Narek Mkrtchyan, said that the technological era creates a model of military-technical cooperation, News.am reported on December 8.
“We need to think about new ideas, such as cyber governance or international cyber norms,” Mkrtchyan said.
He also mentioned Armenia’s Crossroads of Peace project and said that it included “not only the security dimension, but also communication, economic cooperation, and cultural exchange. It makes Armenia an important player in the Eurasian region. This project is in line with the One Belt One Road Initiative”.
Reportedly, the supporter of the conference was the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Armenia.
Obiektivi TV channel broadcasts ‘Xi Jinping’s Letters’
Source: The Embassy of China in Georgia
From December 4 to 7, Georgia’s anti-Western TV channel Obiektivi broadcasted “Xi Jinping’s Letters”, the Chinese Embassy in Georgia reported.
The Chinese electric bus test mode launching in Tbilisi
The Chinese BYD electric bus introduced by Tegeta Holding was launched in Tbilisi in test mode to serve passengers on the N321 route until December 15, GHN reported.
Reportedly, after the expiration of the one-month test period, both the Tbilisi Municipality and Tegeta will evaluate the past period, and work in this direction will continue in the future.
Azerbaijani Energy Minister meets with China Energy International Group President
A photo from the meeting. Source: The Ministry of Energy of Azerbaijan
Azerbaijani Minister of Energy Parviz Shahbazov met with the President of China Energy International Group Co., Ltd. Xubin Qiao, the Ministry reported on December 8.
It was noted that Azerbaijani projects encouraged broad cooperation in the field of renewables and Azerbaijan was interested “in establishing a green energy partnership with Chinese companies”.
“During the discussions, China Energy International Group Co. Ltd on energy storage systems, green hydrogen production and export, advanced transmission and distribution network technologies and other priority areas were evaluated,” the report said.
International Silk Road Symposium at the Georgian International University
The International Silk Road Symposium was held at the Georgian International University at the initiative of the Chinese International Education Group and the Belt and Road Research Institute, the First Channel reported on December 4.
Reportedly, the event was dedicated to the perspectives of China-Georgia cooperation and the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative.