|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 Chinese Communist Party (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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Chinese Ambassador and Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister ready to push forward the two countries’ relations
On January 14, the Chinese Ambassador to Georgia Li Yan met with Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Khvtisiashvili and exchanged views on bilateral relations-related issues, the Chinese Embassy in Georgia reported.
“The Chinese side is willing to take the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations as an opportunity to push forward two counties in the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative and practical cooperation in various fields to introduce new impetus in the development of China-Georgia relations,“ the Embassy said.
The Ambassador said that since the establishment of diplomatic relations, China-Georgia relations maintained a healthy and steady development. The Chinese Embassy noted that China respected Georgia’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and supported the Georgian people in choosing their own development path.
According to the Embassy report, Deputy Foreign Minister said that Georgia would adhere to the One-China principle and “continuously develop“ Georgia-China relations, adding that “Georgia is willing to work with the Chinese side to organize activities related to the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Georgia and China and to push forward bilateral relations to a new level“.
Chinese state media continues targeting democratic revolutions
On January 14, Chinese state-controlled media China Daily published a caricature entitled “What lurks behind US-backed ’color revolutions?’“. Below was the following passage: “Whether the ’Rose Revolution’ in Georgia in 2003, the ’Orange Revolution’ in Ukraine in 2004, the ’Tulip Revolution’ in Kyrgyzstan in 2005 or the ’Arab Spring’ in Asia and Africa in 2011, the past decades have seen the US plan and implement ’color revolutions’, or wars without gunpowder, in many places around the world, frantically exporting ’American values’“.
On January 10, the Chinese state media newspaper Global Times published an article “Kazakhstan’s crisis highlights US angst toward Russia“. The author wrote: “The international political calendar in 2022 began with a very strained security situation in Kazakhstan, a country traditionally known to have one of the most stable political regimes of the post-Soviet states. Many of these states already went through the processes of political imbroglios and power redistribution during ’color revolutions’ which engulfed Armenia, Georgia, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Moldova and Uzbekistan between 2000 and 2020“.
Chinese Ambassador: China-Armenia will further develop close coordination on the international stage
On January 12, Silk Road New Observation published an interview with the Chinese Ambassador to Armenia Fan Yong. The Ambassador discussed China-Armenia relations among other issues.
On the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Armenia, the Ambassador said that the two sides would further enhance political mutual trust, develop close coordination on the international stage, “firmly support each other on issues concerning each other’s core interests and major concerns, safeguard their respective sovereignty, security and development interests and safeguard international fairness and justice“.
According to Fan Yong, the two sides should grasp the historical opportunity, “jointly push forward the high-quality joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, tap the potential for cooperation in economic and trade investment, interconnection, health care… continuously consolidate the material and social foundation of bilateral friendship to push forward the building of the China-Armenia community with shared future“.
The Ambassador noted that at present, the North-South Highway, mineral water plant, the transformation of substations, photovoltaic power plants and other projects undertaken by Chinese enterprises in Armenia were progressing smoothly.
Fan Yong also said that the CCP Chairman Xi Jinping’s proposed Global Development Initiative provided new cooperation opportunities for countries around the world, including Armenia. He noted that the Armenian President put forward the Tomorrow Priority proposal, “hoping to expand foreign high-tech cooperation and help the modernization of Armenia“. The Ambassador added that China had unique advantages in the high-tech field: “It is believed that through the joint efforts of both sides, China and Armenia will be able to look for new growth points for cooperation“.
China is Azerbaijan’s third-biggest import partner
In January-November 2021, China was Azerbaijan’s third-biggest import partner with 14% of Azerbaijan’s total imports, Azernews reported on January 16.
Armenian Ambassador expresses support of China regarding Taiwan, Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics
Armenian Ambassador to China Sergey Manassarian discussed Armenia-China relations, Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 and other issues, Globe News Wire reported on January 14. Manassarian said that China and Armenia kept a close relationship and cooperated in many fields: “Armenia firmly adheres to the One-China Principle, supports China’s position on the Taiwan issue, and agrees that Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Tibet affairs are China’s internal affairs“.
On China-Armenia relations, the Ambassador added that the two counties have a long history and splendid culture, and the history of friendly exchanges between the two countries “lasts for more than 2,000 years“.
According to data from Armenia, the trade volume between the two countries was expected to reach $1.2 billion in 2021, an increase of 35%-40% compared to the previous year, Sergey Manassarian said, and added that although the absolute value was not huge, it was already a great achievement for Armenia.
“In the future, China and Armenia can strengthen cooperation in food processing, alcoholic beverages, machinery, minerals, chemicals, and infrastructure construction,“ Ambassador said. He expressed hope that the two countries could promote cooperation in the fields of transportation and logistics, including opening direct flights, when the pandemic was over.
“Armenia attaches great importance to the development of science and technology and hopes that more Chinese companies, especially technology companies, will invest in and cooperate with Armenian companies,“ the Ambassador said.
On the Beijing Winter Olympics, Sergey Manassarian also said that China was very experienced in fighting the pandemic, and that athletes of the Winter Olympics must respect China’s decisions and measures, adding: “China has hosted the Summer Olympics and Paralympics and is very experienced in organizing the Olympic Games“.
Manassarian noted that as early as the post-WWI period, there were cases of exerting political pressure on or even boycotting the Olympic Games. The Ambassador said that politics should be separated from the Olympic Games and added: “To exert political pressure on the Beijing Winter Olympics is actually to boycott the main principles of the Olympic Charter because Beijing is only the host city of the Winter Olympics“.
The Armenian Ambassador said he believed that the Beijing Winter Olympics would be “above-standard and safe“, and that it would become “one of the most successful Winter Olympics in Olympic history“.
Georgian side hosted an event in Beijing
Georgian Ambassador to China Archil Kalandia and other participants. Source: Business China
On January 10, Business China reported that “Ambassadors from Georgia and other countries and distinguished guests from all walks of life talked about the future at the China-Georgia 2022 welcome reception“.
The event co-hosted by the Silk Road International Chamber of Commerce and Georgia’s foreign trade federation was held in Beijing Tianqu Garden on January 6.
Tian Xiaohong, the chief representative of the Shanghai Representative Office of the Silk Road Chamber of International Commerce, attended the event.
Armenian scholar praises China at the CCP’s Dialogue on Exchanges and Mutual Learning among Civilizations event
Photo from the event. Source: China Daily
On January 10, the Second Dialogue on Exchanges and Mutual Learning among Civilizations was held in Beijing online and in person, China Daily reported. The event was hosted by the Chinese Association for International Understanding, which is affiliated to the external affairs department of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party. 260 guests, including diplomats, former officials and scholars from more than 40 countries participated in the event.
The Chairman of the Center for Political and Economic Strategic Studies in Yerevan, Benyamin Poghosyan, said that “with the intensification of socio-political tensions in developed countries and with the widening income gap at all levels of society, more and more thinkers, experts and scholars have begun to pay attention to China, trying to understand the core reason of its astonishing success and trying to learn lessons from China’s experience“.
Georgian Airways plans to establish a China direction for air freight
One of the shareholders of Georgian Airlines, Irakli Mezvrishvili, said that as a result of the air freight business study, they plan to establish a China direction, Bm.ge reported on January 13.
“I also think that we should transport cargo from Asia to Europe. We registered the company in the spring of 2020. Therefore, enough time has passed for us to study the market and choose the directions. We mainly think about the Asian countries: China, Bangladesh and the Middle East countries,“ Mezvrishvili said.
Azerbaijan to bring in another batch of Chinese vaccines
In January 2022, Azerbaijan planned to import 1 200 000 doses of the Chinese CoronaVac (Sinovac) vaccines, APA reported on January 11.
Armenia’s China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research gave a Chinese Embassy counselor an award for cooperation
Mher Sahakyan and Zhou Hongyou. Source: China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research
The Director of Armenia’s China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research Mher Sahakyan met with a councilor of the Chinese Embassy Zhou Hongyou, and passed him a Certificate of Gratitude for his cooperation with the Council, China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research reported on January 11.
“Good friend of mine, Mr. Zhou Hongyou is finishing his diplomatic mission in Armenia and returning to China. During these 4 years we have cooperated in academic and public diplomacy,“ Sahakyan said.
According to Sahakyan, Zhou Hongyou helped the China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research a lot in establishing academic relations with Chinese scholars and supported the Council in organizing conferences, seminars and other projects. Sahakyan said that Zhou Hongyou had done a lot of work for the strengthening of the Sino-Armenian relations.