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)
21.09.2020 – 27.09.2020
Chinese Ambassador to Georgia: China will take an active part in the reform and construction of the global governance system
On September 27, Georgian news agency Newsday published an interview with Chinese Ambassador to Georgia Li Yan. Among other topics, the Ambassador talked about “China’s fight” with the new coronavirus and China’s role in international society.
While discussing the “strategic results achieved by China” in the fight against Covid-19 she said: “The obvious advantages of the socialist system with Chinese characteristics clearly show that China, as a responsible big state, is ready to consciously undertake the obligation that emphasizes the global importance of a “community of common destiny”.”
When the Ambassador discussed China’s role in the United Nations, she said: “The Chinese side will still defend multilateralism in the future, will take an active part in the reform and construction of the global governance system, the international system, at the core of which is the UN.
Chinese Ambassador: China and Georgia will develop stronger ties and closer cooperation
An article by the Chinese Ambassador to Georgia Li Yan was published in China’s state media outlet, China Daily on September 23. Li Yan says that China and Georgia will develop stronger ties and closer cooperation with further unleashed potential and fruitful results in various fields.
According to Li Yan, Georgia is one of the major countries along the route of the ancient Silk Road and has developed a longstanding friendship with China. Ambassador noted that Georgia has taken the lead in signing cooperation contracts with China and held the Tbilisi Silk Road Forum three times, adding: “The China-Georgia free trade agreement is the first one signed between China and a country in the Eurasian region, driving the bilateral trade volume from $3.68 million in 1992, when the two countries established diplomatic relations, to more than $1 billion in the past two years”.
Chinese Ambassador noted that during China’s struggle to contain the virus Georgia expressed its stance to stand with China and provided firm support at the earliest time. As Ambassador said, “Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili and Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia sent letters of condolence to President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang”, also, Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani and Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradze and other senior government officials expressed their support for China.
According to Li Yan, “some Georgian netizens volunteered to rectify false statements online about the epidemic situation in China.”
The Ambassador says that the media channel in Georgia, TV24, which the ambassador claimed to be “a major television station in Georgia“, broadcasted the documentary “China’s Fight Against COVID-19”. She said that the documentary was shown “during the peak viewing period in the evening to demonstrate the efforts, sacrifice and achievements made by the Chinese government and people to control the pandemic. The documentary received good reviews.”
The Ambassador emphasized that when the virus spread in Georgia, “China launched in-depth anti-pandemic cooperation with the country, adhering to its goal of building a community with a shared future for humankind.”
Xi Jinping says he attaches great importance to the development of the China-Armenia relations
On September 21, the Independence Day of Armenia, General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to Armenian President Armen Sarkissian.
“I attach great importance to the development of the Chinese-Armenian relations and I am ready to make joint efforts with you to raise the multi-sectoral cooperation to a new level,” – Xi Jinping noted in his congratulatory letter.
“China and Armenia traditionally are friendly countries always providing mutual support to each other on matters deriving from their key interests,” – said Xi Jinping.
He emphasized that the joint fight against COVID-19 reflects the high level of the bilateral relations and the deep, sincere friendship between people of China and Armenia.
Chinese Premier is ready to work with Armenia within the Belt and Road initiative
On September 21, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang congratulated Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on the 29th anniversary of Armenia’s independence.
“I am prepared to work with you towards the comprehensive development of bilateral relations within the framework of the Belt and Road initiative,” – the Chinese Premier said.
Li Keqiang noted that China and Armenia have been supporting each other since the outbreak of the new coronavirus – “We were able to meet the emerging challenges through joint efforts, which is the reflection of our countries’ deep-rooted friendship”.
Georgian Envoy held a meeting with Deputy Governor of Guizhou Provincial People’s Government
Source: Embassy of Georgia to the People’s Republic of China/Facebook
From September 16 to September 19, 2020, the Envoy of Georgian Embassy David Pipinashvili attended Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN 2020), China Belt and Road Culture and Tourism Exchange Week and also Belt and Road Import-Export Exposition in Guiyan, the capital of Guizhou province, Embassy of Georgia in China reported on September 21. A working meeting was held with Vice Governor of Guizhou Provincial People’s Government, Wang Shijie, as well as representatives of local business companies.
According to the Embassy, in order to popularize and raise awareness about Georgia, David Pipinashvili made a presentation about Georgian culture and tourism potential in one of the exhibition halls “that aroused the interest of the attending public”.
Zhejiang Keweili Wine co. Ltd., the company which exports Georgian alcoholic drinks to the Chinese market, took part in the Import-Export Exhibition. A special exhibition space was organized by the Embassy, where Georgian wine and other drinks were presented, the Embassy writes.
Chinese Ambassador: China is interested in expanding political, economic and humanitarian ties with Armenia
On September 23, Armenian Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan, held a meeting with the Chinese Ambassador to Armenia, Tian Erlong.
According to the Prime Minister’s Office, Ambassador Erlong said that China is interested in expanding the political, economic and humanitarian ties with Armenia.
Tian Erlong expressed certainty that the great potential for bilateral cooperation would be used in the coming years.
Nikol Pashinyan thanked the Ambassador for contributing to the development of the Armenian-Chinese relations with active work and noted that the cooperation between the two states in various directions was close and productive during his tenure.
Armenian Prime Minister also said that the Armenian Government was interested in expanding and further strengthening partnership with China. He noted that his discussions with the General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese Premier in Beijing in 2019 were a good basis for this expansion.
According to Armenian media, issues related to cooperation in road construction, infrastructure development, tourism, healthcare, education and implementation of new projects were also discussed.
Aliyev: Azerbaijan attaches utmost importance to the comprehensive development of Azerbaijan-China relations
On September 26, President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, sent a letter to Xi Jinping to congratulate him on the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
“We are delighted to witness the success and achievements of the People’s Republic of China, your country becoming one of the leading nations of the world and day by day growth of its prestige in the international arena,” – President of Azerbaijan wrote.
President Aliyev wrote that Azerbaijan attaches utmost importance to the comprehensive development of relations with China, adding that that cooperation in political, economic and humanitarian spheres would certainly continue to develop successfully under the Belt and Road Initiative.
Aliyev also thanked Xi Jinping for China’s help during the pandemic.
Armenian President wants to collaborate with China on technologies
On September 23, Armenian President Armen Sarkissian visited the Embassy of China in Armenia to deliver congratulations on the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and to bid farewell to the Ambassador to Armenia Tian Erlong, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported on September 23.
“I agree that our present is always determined by the past and future. What links us is the future and the future of mankind is new technologies. Armenia can collaborate with China in this sector. I would be glad to be able to make my small contribution to the development of Armenian-Chinese relations in the sector of new technologies,” – News.am quoted President Sarkissian as saying.
According to Armenian media, Sarkissian said he viewed the cooperation between the two countries as promising in not only the field of technology but also in food safety, agriculture, natural resources, as well as education and culture and added that China and Armenia had wide opportunities and great potential for cooperation in science and research.
POWERCHINA will work on another project in Georgia
On September 25, Bm.ge reported that as a result of the international tender the Chinese company POWERCHINA/Sinohydro will perform the reconstruction works of the Khulo-Zarzma’s Section 42 of the Batumi (Angisa)-Akhaltsikhe highway. Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) will finance the project with 95 million GEL.
China hopes differences between Azerbaijan and Armenia will be resolved through dialogue
On September 27, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin made a statement about military clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. According to Chinese media, the spokesperson said he hoped all parties involved would remain calm, restrained and would resolve contradictions and differences through political dialogue.
Georgian Embassy to China: an article about Georgia’s tourism opportunities published in a leading Chinese Internet outlet
The Embassy of Georgia to the People’s Republic of China reported on September 25 that as a result of the joint cooperation of the Embassy of Georgia and one of the leading Internet platforms of China, “Voice of Diplomacy”, a large article was published on the tourism opportunities of Georgia and Georgian wine. According to the Embassy, the platform has hundreds of thousands of visitors every day.
Azerbaijan University of Languages hosts Chinese Week to celebrate China’s national day
Azerbaijan University of Languages hosted Chinese Week, an online event to celebrate the national day of the People’s Republic of China and the birthday of Confucius, Azertag reported on September 23. University invited students and others interested in Chinese culture.
28.09.2020 – 4.10.2020
Georgian Deputy Prime Minister, other officials offer congratulations on the 71st anniversary of the People’s Republic of China
To celebrate the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese embassy in Georgia created a website 2020.cn.ge. On the website, there are 19 videos in which Georgia’s high-rank government officials, Chinese Ambassador to Georgia, Georgia’s Ambassador to China, representatives of educational institutions associated with China, other Chinese representatives and Chinese workers employed in different infrastructural projects in Georgia took part.
China’s Ambassador to Georgia Li Yan noted that during the outbreak of the new coronavirus, China “used the advantages of its system” and achieved control of the epidemic. Ambassador also said that nowadays political trust and relationship on different levels between China and Georgia was increasing. At the end of her speech, she noted: “We will tirelessly fight for the great goal of the rejuvenation of Chinese nation. China will still act according to the concept of “society with shared future”.
Deputy Prime Minister of Georgia and Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure Maya Tskitishvili said in her congratulatory speech: “We greatly appreciate the relationship that has been formed between China and Georgia, and of course recently closer cultural, economic and humanitarian relationship makes us closer with each other”. Maya Tskitishvili noted that as the Infrastructure Minister she was very pleased that Chinese companies were working on very big and important infrastructure projects and that “economic relations between our countries are actively developing. Recently, trade turnover exceeded one billion between our countries and of course, we welcome the development of all kinds of relationships”.
The CEO of Georgia’s Partnership Fund David Saganelize emphasized that nowadays China successfully holds the leading positions and develops worldwide-scale Belt and Road Initiative. “China has always managed to surprise the world with its properly aimed and balancing acts that once again were clearly shown during the fight against the new coronavirus epidemic”, Saganelidze said in his speech. He also said that “as a part of the Belt and Road initiative, a plan-project of bilateral economic and trade cooperation is being agreed with the Development and Reform Commission of China – an unprecedented document that includes all spheres and aspects of cooperation between the two countries that will have a great impact on future cooperation.“ David Saganelidze believes that the development of China will bring prosperity to the world and “China’s economic strength and world stability will bring great profit to Georgia”.
The Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia, Mikheil Chkhenkeli said he believed that the cooperation between China and Georgia in the spheres of education, science and culture was productive. He said that “the agreement on cooperation in spheres of science and technology between Georgia and the People’s Republic of China that was signed in 1993 is also being renewed, which will play an important role in the development of the field”. The Minister also announced that in the near future protocol about cooperation in 2020-2024 in the cultural field would be signed between China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism and Georgia’s Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport.
An adviser to the Georgian Minister of Agriculture and Director of Research Institute of China Studies at the Georgian Technical University Jemal Putkaradze said in his congratulatory speech that the history of modern China began in 1949, when the establishment of People’s Republic of China was declared in Beijing at the Tiananmen Square. He noted that Beijing’s Tiananmen Square was an example of a strong state, and that China was “the symbol of the protector of peace, preserving and protecting territorial integrity and fighting against terrorism”. He added that China was Georgia’s friendly and strategic partner.
Jemal Putkaradze delivers his speech. Source: Youtube/Screenshot
Others who shared the congratulatory speech included the Director of Confucius Institute at the Free University of Tbilisi Marine Jibladze, who noted that China had enormous charm and influence. “We share Chinese culture and history! We will never forget where we are from and where we are going” – said the representatives of Confucius Institute from Chinese side at the Free University of Tbilisi. Representatives of the Association of Chinese Living in Georgia said: “We, the Chinese living in different parts of the world, believe the great dream of national rejuvenation will be fulfilled”. The representatives from the Hunan Roads and Bridge Construction Group Co. said that they would take real and practical steps to support the Belt and Road Initiative, adding: “we will make an important contribution to creating a society with a shared future”.
On the website, videos about China titled “China’s charm” and “Fight against the new coronavirus” can be found. In the section of “China’s position” there are Xi Jinping’s statements and remarks.
Pashinyan to Xi Jinping: under your leadership, China succeeded in overcoming COVID-19, setting a brilliant example for the world
On the 71st anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan sent a congratulatory letter to Xi Jinping.
“Under your leadership, China succeeded in overcoming COVID-19 and continues the fight against the consequences of COVID-19 with steadfast actions, setting a brilliant example for the world and supporting friendly countries,” – News.am shared a letter by Pashinyan on October 1.
Armenian Prime Minister says that he attaches great importance to the high-level dialogue and policy of mutual support between Armenia and China “in the period of changes taking place in the international arena”.
Pashinyan spoke of a meeting in 2019 in China, saying he and Xi Jinping “outlined the vector for the development of our countries”, and that “the strengthening of relations called for using the wide potential for multi-sector partnership through the Belt and Road Initiative”.
China’s temporary diplomatic representative: after Covid-19, cooperation between China and Armenia will develop greatly
On October 1, 2020, on the occasion of the National Day of People’s Republic of China and Mid-Autumn Festival, the temporary diplomatic representative of the Chinese Embassy in Armenia, Zhou Hongyou, celebrated the events through video conference with the representatives from Chinese-funded institutions in Armenia, teachers and volunteers of Confucius Institutes and foreign students.
Zhou stated that the friendly and cooperative relations between China and Armenia have developed steadily and positively in recent years, and that after the epidemic, cooperation in various fields between China and Armenia “will burst out with greater vitality.”
5.10.2020 – 11.10.2020
Hong Kong and Georgia sign tax agreement
On October 5, the Hong Kong government signed a comprehensive avoidance of double taxation agreement (CDTA) with Georgia.
“Georgia is an emerging economy which participates in the Belt & Road Initiative,” – says news.gov.hk.
This is the 45th CDTA that the Hong Kong government has concluded.
According to news.gov.hk: “it sets out the allocation of taxing rights between the two jurisdictions and will help investors better assess their potential tax liabilities from cross-border economic activities.
Double taxation will be avoided in that any tax paid in Georgia by Hong Kong companies under the agreement will be allowed as a credit against the tax payable in Hong Kong on the same income, subject to the provisions of the tax laws of Hong Kong.
Likewise, for Georgian companies, the tax paid in Hong Kong will be allowed as a deduction from the tax payable on the same income in Georgia.”
The Hong Kong government website says that the agreement also provides tax relief arrangements. The agreement will come into force after both sides complete ratification procedures.
Maersk’s first block train from China arrives in Georgia
Maersk’s intercontinental rail product portfolio expands, with the recent introduction of a block train solution connecting China and Georgia, Maersk reported on October 9.
On October 4, the first train from Xi’an, China arrived in Tbilisi, inaugurating the new rail connection, which complements Maersk’s current coverage of the South Caucasian states (Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia).
“We arranged this special service specifically for Georgian customers, and we plan to develop block train solutions for the whole Caucasus region” – said Irakli Danelia, Georgia’s Commercial Representative at A.P. Moller – Maersk.
According to Maersk, further expansion of its rail product will also strengthen Georgia’s role in the New Silk Road development.
The first China-Georgia block train left Xi’an on September 10, 2020 and arrived in Tbilisi on October 4 with 41 containers on board.
12.10.2020 – 18.10.2020
China is Georgia’s third-largest trading partner
In January-September 2020, China was Georgia’s third-largest trading partner, National Statistics Office of Georgia reported on October 19. Trade turnover with China reached $864.9 million, which is 10.7% of the total turnover.
China is also the third-largest trading partner by imports ($509.6 million) – its share of total Georgian imports is 8.9%. Last year, during the same period, this number was $647.1 million, constituting a share of 9.5%.
China is Georgia’s top trading partner by exports – $355.3 million, which is 14.8% of total Georgian exports. Last year, the number for the same period was $124.9 million, a share of 4.6%.
Source: Geostat – Georgia’s top trading partners by exports (January-September 2020)
Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to China hopes to strengthen exchanges and cooperation between the two countries
On October 12, the Communist Party of China’s Central Committee’s external affairs department and the CPC of Fujian province jointly organized “Poverty Eradication and Responsibilities of Political Parties” international seminar in Fuzhou, Fujian province.
According to the Chinese government website idcpc.gov.cn, Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to China, Akram Zeynalli said that he had seriously read “Poverty Elimination” and other writings and deepened his understanding of the idea of precise poverty alleviation. Azerbaijani side hopes to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with China in various fields such as poverty reduction and achieve common development.
Georgia’s Ambassador to China made a speech at the “Silk Road Youth Dream Gathering” event
On October 17, the third “Silk Road Youth Dream Gathering” awards ceremony was held in Beijing. According to Chinese media, the purpose of the event is to provide a stage for young people from different countries on the Silk Road “with a bright vision for the future, to show their talent, share dreams and provide a stage and to build bridges for them to perceive the era, connect with society and enhance friendship”.
At the event, Georgian Ambassador to China Archil Kalandia said: “Through this competition, young people from different countries along the Silk Road can gather, communicate and grow together. The younger generation represents the future and hope of a country. The organizers of the event help the new generation to better understand each other’s culture, history and tradition in the form of people to people exchanges. I would like to express my high appreciation and firm support for this”.
The event was hosted by the Silk Road Cities Alliance, China Friendship and Peaceful Development Foundation, Beijing Silk Road Cooperation and Development Promotion Committee, and Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies of Renmin University of China.
Workers employed in SDT Georgia LLC factory will undergo special training in China
On October 15, in an interview published in the Georgian media, the CEO of Poti Free Industrial Zone David Ebralidze said that the workers employed in an automotive component production factory, SDT Georgia LLC, will undergo special training in China at a similar plant in Suzhou. According to the CEO, the company has already sent the first batch of groups for training. It has also secured all the necessary construction and environmental permits to start the construction work.
SDT Georgia LLC is an automotive component production factory which will supply automotive industry of EU countries as well as China, USA and Mexico.
According to David Ebralidze, in the first year of production it is planned to export components worth up to 5 million USD, the volume of which will increase every year. He noted that, in the first phase, the plant will employ up to 60 local employees and this number will increase to 100 employees by the end of 2021.
Ebralidze said that SDT Georgia LLC is an enterprise with manufacturing plants located in Europe and China.