|ავტორი: Medea Ivaniadze|
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 Communist Party of China (according to the World Press Freedom Index China is nearly at the bottom of the list and ranks 177th out of 180 countries)
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31.5.2021 – 6.6.2021
Xi Jinping suggests to Aliyev ensuring “sound planning and effective implementation” of BRI
On June 3, a telephone conversation was held between CCP Chairman Xi Jinping and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.
According to the Chinese media, Xi Jinping regards Azerbaijan as an important partner for the Belt and Road cooperation.
Xi suggested that the two sides should share opportunities, pursue common development and ensure sound planning and effective implementation of their Belt and Road cooperation.
The Chinese leader also noted that China was willing to import more high-quality specialty products from Azerbaijan, encourage Chinese enterprises to invest and start businesses in Azerbaijan and carry out cooperation in such fields as infrastructure construction. Xi Jinping also said that the two sides should deepen cooperation in the international transportation and logistics, promote the building of Asia-Europe transportation corridors and improve the level of regional connectivity.
Xi Jinping said that China and Azerbaijan should take the 30th anniversary of their diplomatic relationship next year as an opportunity to push for the greater development of bilateral ties.
Chairman Xi expressed readiness to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with Azerbaijan in medical areas, and to continue to provide vaccines and other assistance for Azerbaijan’s fight against Covid-19.
According to Azertac, Aliyev noted that Azerbaijan was ready to further strengthen ties with China and welcomed the further expansion of activities of the Chinese companies in Azerbaijan.
President Ilham Aliyev wished China success in organizing the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
According to China Global Television Network, Ilham Aliyev said that China was a true partner of Azerbaijan and that Azerbaijan had always firmly supported China’s position on issues related to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang, and would continue to do so.
Aliyev congratulated Xi Jinping on the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Communist Party of China.
Georgian Dream party MPs and Chinese Ambassador discuss communication “between legislature and party”
Li Yan, Giorgi Amilakhvari and Shalva Papuashvili. Source: Parliament of Georgia
On June 3, the ruling Georgian Dream party MP and the Head of the Friendship Group with the Parliament of the People’s Republic of China Giorgi Amilakhvari and another Georgian Dream MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Education and Science and also a member of the Friendship Group Shalva Papuashvili met with the Chinese Ambassador to Georgia Li Yan.
According to the MFA of China, the Georgian side warmly congratulated the Chinese Ambassador on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China and the two sides exchanged views on the topics of China-Georgia relations, contacts between legislatures and parties, and education and scientific cooperation.
Giorgi Amilakhvari said they discussed “all important issues at the political level, at the educational level, discussed investment and economic topics, talked about future close cooperation”.
Georgian MPs also thanked the Chinese Ambassador for the assistance provided to Georgia on the Covid-19 vaccines.
In 2010-2020 George Amilakhvari was the Deputy Rector, the Rector and associate professor of in Law at the Tbilisi Open University. Confucius Classroom at the Tbilisi Open University was established in 2016. In 2019, during his time as the Rector of the Tbilisi Open University he signed an agreement with Chinese side on the transformation of the Confucius Classroom at the Tbilisi Open University and establishment of Confucius Institute there. Tbilisi Open University is the second educational institution in Georgia, where a Confucius Institute operates.
Former Prime Minister of Georgia on vaccines: MFA was working extremely actively, especially in the direction of China
On May 31, former Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia said that Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had been working especially actively in the direction of China to get Covid-19 vaccines. Gakharia, previously representing the ruling Georgian Dream Party and currently the leader of the newly established party For Georgia, was discussing vaccine purchasing activities during his time as Prime Minister in 2020 and at the beginning of 2021.
“Our Ministry of Foreign Affairs was working extremely actively, especially in the direction of China and these were the results,” Gakharia noted.
Armenian Minister of Economy invited Chinese companies to participate in projects in Armenia
Photo from the meeting. Source: Armenpress
Armenian Minister of Economy Vahan Kerobyan met with the Ambassador of China to Armenia Fan Yong, Armenpress reported on June 2.
Kerobyan informed the Chinese Ambassador about “several new initiatives” and invited Chinese companies to participate in the implementation of these projects, related to the designing, construction and operation of an innovative city on the Yerevan-Gyumri highway, as well as the construction and launch of industrial parks in Ararat, Meghri and Gyumri.
Regarding the agricultural sector, Vahan Kerobyan discussed the necessity of creating a single irrigation system in Armenia and discussed the opportunities of jointly implementing this project with China.
During the meeting, the sides also discussed the possibilities of re-launching a chemical production and developing metallurgy in Armenia.
The two sides also emphasized the necessity of opening direct flights between Armenia and China, which would facilitate cargo transportation between the two countries and would boost tourism. Kerobyan expressed the readiness of the Armenian government on this issue and noted that if necessary, such flights would be subsidized.
Chinese Ambassador noted that in 2020 the Chinese side had planned to send a group of specialists to Armenia to observe the possibilities of opening direct flights, but this plan didn’t take place because of Covid-19. According to the Ambassador, the Chinese side was ready to resume the talks over this issue. Fan Yong also emphasized “deepening the economic ties and the mutually beneficial partnership”, expressed the interest of the Chinese side in participation in the mentioned projects and asked to be provided with more detailed information about them.
Azerbaijani MP: China and Azerbaijan are linked by the bonds of traditional friendship and cooperation
An Azerbaijani MP and member of the Azerbaijan-China Working Group on Interparliamentary Relations Aydin Huseynov said that China and Azerbaijan were linked by the bonds of traditional friendship and cooperation, an Azerbaijani news agency reported on June 3.
The MP said that a trade mission operated at the Azerbaijani embassy in China, Azerbaijani trading houses also operated in Luzhou, Lianyuan and Qingdao and three wine houses of Azerbaijan existed in Urumqi and Shanghai.
Huseynov noted that Azerbaijan’s export of goods to China was growing annually. According to the Azerbaijani MP, Chinese companies have invested over $900 million in Azerbaijan.
“There are about 120 companies with Chinese investments in Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan’s investments in the Chinese economy amount to $1.7 billion. China issued a loan worth $600 million to finance the TANAP gas project,” MP added.
Azerbaijani MP: Azerbaijan is making a great contribution to the implementation of BRI
Azerbaijani MP from the ruling New Azerbaijan Party (YAP) Afet Hasanova said that Azerbaijan was one of the first countries which supported the Belt and Road Initiative and was making a great contribution to the implementation of this initiative by its large-scale transport and infrastructure projects, Azernews reported on June 6.
“The implementation of such projects as Baku-Tbilisi-Kars, the Baku International Sea Trade Port and now the formation of the Eurasian Transport Corridor and Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (East-West) by new Zangezur corridor at the initiative of our country will create a short and convenient alternative route for the transportation of goods from China to the West serving the interests of all countries in the region, as well as the development of their economic ties,” the MP said.
Hasanova said that the transformation of Azerbaijan into an important transport and logistics center between China and the EU was of “tremendous importance both from the point of view of the development of relations between our country and the two global centers of power and in terms of strengthening the position of our country in the world arena”. The MP also noted that the opinions voiced during the telephone conversation between President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and the General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Xi Jinping, “as well as during the conversation between President Aliyev and President of the European Council Charles Michel, demonstrate the importance attached to the country in the international arena, recognition of the leadership of Azerbaijan in the region and its importance in the world politics”.
Deputy Director of TV 24 supports Beijing’s policies in Xinjiang
On June 2, Deputy Director of TV 24 Badri Nachkebia published an article in a Georgian outlet News Day: “Xinjiang – With firm steps towards the future,” that supports Beijing’s genocidal policies in China’s Xinjiang.
“The economy of a region once lagging is now flourishing and the government is doing its best to improve the well-being of the people and establish lasting peace and stability in the region,” Nachkebia wrote.
Deputy Director of TV 24 claimed that the Chinese government had not only started the fight against terrorism and extremism through “purely operational methods” in Xinjiang but also introduced new innovative methods of working with the population by establishing “professional training and education centers”.
“By establishing professional training and education centers, China has contributed to the fight against terrorism and extremism around the world. Thanks to them, today, peace, progress and prosperity reign in Xinjiang,” Nachkebia wrote while claiming that government policies aimed to ensure equality between peoples and paid special attention to preserving the identity of peoples and their traditions.
On the same day, several pro-Beijing articles were also published by News Day in the section “About Xinjiang” (the section title written in Russian) entitled: “What American political rulers are looking for in Xinjiang”, “Fighting terrorism in Xinjiang: stability first and foremost”, “Broad, consistent, full of life and hope – this is the professional training center in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region”. One of the articles, “China’s Xinjiang is a beautiful place where harmony reigns”, was written by China’s Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui.
China willing to cooperate with Heydar Aliyev Foundation and China-Eurasia Center for Strategic Studies
Leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states, observer states, and dialogue partners as well as representatives of non-governmental friendship organizations held discussions, Chinese media reported on June 3.
According to the Chinese state media,China was willing to jointly hold activities to facilitate people-to-people friendship and promote the building of a community of health, security, development, and humanities together with 16 organizations, including Azerbaijan’s Heydar Aliyev Foundation and Armenia’s China-Eurasia Center for Strategic Studies. According to the report, the Forum proposes that non-governmental organizations of member states, observer states and dialogue partners “deepen mutual understanding and traditional friendship and actively promote the cause of people-to-people friendship of the SCO in the post-epidemic era”.
Chairman of the Board of Azerbaijan State News Agency: Media can play a key role in fulfilling the mission assigned by Aliyev and Xi to further strengthen bilateral relations
On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the founding of a Chinese state media outlet China Daily, Chairman of the Board of Azertac Aslan Aslanov sent a congratulatory letter to Editor-in-Chief of China Daily Zhou Shuchun, Azertac reported on June 2.
According to Aslanov, the media can play a key role in fulfilling the missions assigned by President Ilham Aliyev and Chairman Xi Jinping to further strengthen bilateral relations.
He wrote that in the past the two sides had carried out a series of joint projects like news exchanges and journalist training.
Aslanov noted that annually the Chinese teachers at the Confucius Institute in Baku organize Chinese courses for about 10 personnel of Azertac “to improve their understanding of Chinese culture, literature and art”.
China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research: Time is working for Beijing for its greater political influence in South Caucasus
Director of the China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research, Armenia, Mher Sahakyan introduced his research on China’s rising role in South Caucasus, Iran and Turkey at Yerevan School of Political Studies, China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research reported on June 2.
According to Sahakyan, South Caucasus countries and their neighbors are strongly interested in the Belt and Road Initiative, time is working for Beijing and, in the near future, China’s growing economic presence will also give it greater political influence.
Confucius Institute in Azerbaijan held an art history seminar
On May 24, an online seminar “The History of Art of Printing in China and Azerbaijan” was held at the Confucius Institute at Azerbaijan University of Languages, Azertac reported on June 4.
7.6.2021 – 13.6.2021
Armenian opposition bloc promises that cooperation with China will move to a new level
On May 9, an Armenian opposition bloc Armenia Alliance was established. It is a coalition of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation party and the Reborn Armenia party and is led by former President Robert Kocharyan.
The Armenia Alliance presented its electoral program where relations with China were also discussed. On June 9, an Armenian news agency reported on its electoral program. In the 178-point program, the 9th point states that “the cooperation with China will be moved towards a new quality level, including in the context of regional collaboration”.
In the new agenda for regional cooperation topics, it is said that the option of turning Armenia into a regional airline hub for passenger transits from Europe to Asian countries, such as India and China, or vice versa, will be contemplated. It is also noted that “all these concepts should necessarily be linked with China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative on global cooperation and infrastructure development”.
Chinese Ambassador: Azerbaijan’s Restoration of the Historic Silk Road national development strategy is highly congenial with BRI
On June 10, Chinese Ambassador Guo Min gave an interview to an Azerbaijani media outlet Republic, China’s Embassy in Azerbaijan reported.
The Ambassador said that mutual political trust between Azerbaijan and China continued to deepen, the national development strategy was highly congenial and cooperation in economy and trade, energy, cultural activities in society and cooperation in other fields continuously achieved new results and had broad development prospects.
The Ambassador said that Azerbaijan was one of the first countries to respond and actively participate in the Belt and Road Initiative proposal.
According to Guo Min, Azerbaijan’s Restoration of the Historic Silk Road national development strategy is highly congenial with the Belt and Road initiative.
“China attaches great importance to deepening China-Azerbaijan cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and to further expanding the area and scale of cooperation,” Guo Min said.
According to Guo Min, today, Azerbaijan is energetically promoting the implementation of the national development strategy of the Restoration of the Historic Silk Road.
Guo Min said that the Chinese side was willing to work with Azerbaijan to develop cooperation areas such as infrastructure building within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and actively bring into play the advantages of the Azerbaijan trans-Eurasian sea and land transport hub to promote regional interconnection and intercommunication, economic integration and cultural exchanges.
Chinese Ambassador hopes that Chinese language competition contestants in Armenia will become Cultural Ambassadors
On June 9, the Chinese Embassy in Armenia hosted the final of the Chinese Bridge Language Proficiency Competition for school and university students, co-organized by the Confucius Institute at the Brusov State University in Yerevan.
Chinese Ambassador to Armenia Fan Yong said that the theme of the competition “[the land/all] under heaven is one family” drew attention to the idea of harmony in China’s traditional culture and embodied the idea of “community with shared future for mankind”.
Ambassador also said that China-Armenia “friendly relations” recently developed rapidly, including cultural cooperation with educational exchanges. According to Fan Yong, he believes that after the Covid-19 situation improves their cooperation will be more flourishing. Meanwhile, the Ambassador expressed hope that contestants could become cultural ambassadors for friendly exchanges between China and Armenia and make positive efforts to the development of bilateral relations.
At the online event, the head of the Foreign Relations and Diaspora Department at the Ministry of Education and Science of Armenia Arkadi Papoyan stated that developing friendly and cooperative relations with China was one of the important priorities of Armenia’s foreign policy.
Chinese Ambassador to Azerbaijan urges students to study Chinese for the China-Azerbaijani friendship
Guo Min. Source: The Embassy of China to Azerbaijan
On June 12, the Chinese Bridge Language Proficiency Competition for students hosted by the Chinese Embassy in Azerbaijan and the Confucius Institute at Baku State University was held online in Azerbaijan.
At the event, Chinese Ambassador Guo Min said that the two Confucius Institutes in Azerbaijan had become important platforms for the Azerbaijani people to learn Chinese, understand China and enhance mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples.
The Ambassador emphasized the theme of the competition, “[the land/all] under heaven is one family”. Guo Min urged everyone to study Chinese hard and contribute to the cause of China-Azerbaijani friendship for generations.
Director of EurAsiaAz published pro-Beijing and anti-Western article
According to China’s Embassy in Azerbaijan, on June 7, the Azerbaijan State News Agency published an article by Seymur Mammadov, the director of Eurasia-Azerbaijan (EurAsiaAz), an international expert club, and editor-in-chief of Azerbaijan’s news agency Vzglyad.az, entitled “The Communist Party of China: A hundred years of remarkable achievements”.
He wrote that without changing the political system, Chinese society has experienced “amazing transformation” and this experience deserved special study, while wishing the same path for the Soviet Union before its collapse:
“Just imagine, if the Soviet Union before 1991 promoted transformation and reform based on not giving up its ideology, then this big and powerful alliance might be able to move towards a brighter future”.
According to Mammadov, “the enemy of China” will not achieve the expected results.
“Regretfully, in the past two years, we have witnessed how the United States attempted to sanction China and contain its development… But no one can shake, and it is impossible to shake the giant China. On the contrary, the Western countries are suffering the consequences of their actions and are paying a heavy price for their shortsighted and unjust anti-Chinese sanctions,” Mammadov wrote.
Representative of a Chinese think-tank gave an interview to Azerbaijani news agency
On June 7, Deputy Secretary-General of the One Belt, One Road Research Center at the Academy of Social Sciences of China Xu Wenhun gave an interview to AzVision.
Xu said that after the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 2020, a new stage for peaceful development in the South Caucasus was created.
“In this stage, cooperation and friendship between Baku and Beijing can give impetus to the development of the region and the world. More attention should be paid to the economic development of the region,” Xu said.
According to Xu Wenhun, China and Europe are considered as two major economic centres in the world within the Belt and Road Initiative:
“If the relations between the two centres are enhanced, then the South Caucasus, particularly Azerbaijan, will play a significant role in relations among China, Europe, Russia and Africa”.
Hong Kong-Georgia tax treaty to come into force
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government announced that the Comprehensive Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement it had signed with Georgia would come into force on July 1, Chinese state media reported on June 8.
The agreement, signed in October 2020, will be in force after the completion of the ratification procedures.
“The agreement will have effect in respect of Hong Kong tax for any year of assessment beginning on or after April 1, 2022”, according to Xinhua, a speaker for the HKSAR government said.
The speaker also said that Georgia participated in the Belt and Road Initiative, adding: “The agreement will bring a greater degree of certainty on tax liabilities for those who engage in cross-border business activities and help promote bilateral trade and investment activities”.
Chinese internet platform for investment publishes content about Georgia
On June 10, Georgia’s Embassy in China reported that as a result of the cooperation between the Embassy of Georgia in China and “China’s Leading Outbound Investment Facilitator,” the Internet platform Victwo, a large part of the June publication of Victwo Chinese and English language magazine was devoted to the favourable business environment in Georgia, international ratings of the country and other important economic matters.
According to the agreement reached by the parties, the content on Georgia’s investment potential and tourism opportunities will be published on the Internet platform.
CEO of the Azerbaijan-China Cooperation Public Union publishes article “My indissoluble bond with China”
On June 11, Rashad Karimov, the founder and CEO of the Azerbaijan-China Cooperation Public Union and senior adviser to the Director General of the Port of Baku, published an article in Azertac entitled “My indissoluble bond with China”.
Karimov wrote about his time living and studying in China and continuing his career focusing on China, while praising China’s development, its quickly overcoming the epidemic and other achievements.
Rashad Karimov wrote that China had successfully implemented the Belt and Road Initiative strategy, uniting many countries for common development and prosperity, adding that “as a country along the route, Azerbaijan also has much more opportunities to cooperate with China”.
He also wrote that in 2018, at the request of the Chinese and Azerbaijani governments, he worked as the main translator of the Azerbaijani language version of the first and second volumes of Xi Jinping’s book, “The Governance of China”.
Georgian wine export to China slightly decreased
In January-May 2021, 1 864 351 bottles of wine were exported in China, a 3% decrease compared to the same period last year, Interpressnews reported on June 8. Nevertheless, during January-May, China was Georgia’s 4th export destination for Georgian wine.
Confucius Institute in Azerbaijan held a cultural event
On the occasion of World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, the Confucius Institute at Azerbaijan University of Languages held an online seminar, Azertac reported on June 9.