|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)
Omitted news from March 2022
China Road and Bridge Corporation won another tender in Georgia
On March 31, BM.ge reported that the Government of Georgia submitted a project for the construction of a new highway from Tbilisi to Kakheti in the summer of 2021 and announced three tenders for the construction of a 35.2-km section to Sagarejo. Tender winners were revealed and their total funding amounted to GEL 537.8 million.
China Road and Bridge Corporation is one of the three tender winners. Reportedly, the company won the tender in November 2021. The Chinese company won the tender for the construction of the 23.8-kilometer Vaziani-Sagarejo section. Reportedly, the funding amounts to GEL 313.4 million and the construction of this lot should be completed in 30 months.
18.04.2022 – 24.04.2022
China welcomes Armenia’s participation in Xi Jinping’s Global Development Initiative
On April 20, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a phone conversation with Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan.
Wang Yi said that China and Armenia were good friends enjoying the mutual trust, and good partners featuring sincere cooperation. The Chinese side noted that it is satisfied with the outcomes of bilateral cooperation and is fully confident in the prospect of bilateral relations. The Minister said that the two sides should take the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties as an opportunity “to continue to implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries and push forward the sustained development of bilateral relations in its 30s”.
The Chinese side noted that it welcomed Armenia’s early participation in Xi Jinping’s proposed Global Development Initiative.
Wang Yi also said that China, “as always, will respect Armenia’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity”.
“China believes that Armenia will continue to firmly support China’s position on issues concerning China’s core interests, adhere to the one-China principle, and oppose “Taiwan independence” in whatever forms,” the statement said.
Mirzoyan stressed that Armenia would continue to pursue the one-China principle and fully support China in safeguarding its core interests. According to the statement, Armenia attaches great importance to developing relations with China and “stands ready to deepen exchanges and cooperation with China in various fields, strengthen communication and coordination on international and regional affairs and push for greater progress in bilateral relations”.
China expresses readiness to work with Azerbaijan for greater synergy between their development strategies
On April 20, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a phone conversation with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov.
The Chinese Foreign Minister said he believed that under the strategic guidance of the two heads of state, China-Azerbaijan relations would open up “new bright prospects and sail into a new stage featuring greater maturity”.
China expressed readiness to work with Azerbaijan to seek greater synergy between their development strategies and deepen practical cooperation in various fields. China welcomed Azerbaijan’s active participation in the Global Development Initiative.
Wang Yi said China, “as always, will respect Azerbaijan’s sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity”. According to China’s MFA statement, China believes that Azerbaijan will continue to support China’s “legitimate position” on issues concerning China’s core interests and that Azerbaijan will always adhere to the one-China principle and oppose Taiwan’s independence in any form.
Bayramov congratulated China on the “successful hosting” of the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 and thanked China for its “valuable support” to Azerbaijan’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. He confirmed that Azerbaijan would continue to abide by the one-China principle. The statement also said that more Chinese enterprises were welcome to invest and do business in Azerbaijan. It is also ready to strengthen cooperation with China under the framework of the Global Development Initiative.
China expresses readiness to strengthen communication with Georgia in international affairs
On April 20, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a phone conversation with Georgian Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili over the 30th Anniversary of the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between China and Georgia.
Wang Yi noted that the two sides should take “stock of the successful experience of bilateral relations” and make plans for cooperation in the next three decades.
“China and Georgia should continue to uphold the spirit of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, make plans and advance bilateral relations in a coordinated manner from a strategic, long-term and overall perspective, advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, deepen practical cooperation and promote the sound, stable and sustainable development of bilateral relations,” Wang Yi said.
The Chinese side expressed readiness to strengthen communication with Georgia in international affairs, “jointly promote peace and development, defend international fairness and justice, and uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order underpinned by international law”.
The statement said that China spoke “highly of Georgia’s consistent support for China’s core interests and major concerns” and appreciated Georgia’s adherence to the one-China principle and opposition to Taiwan’s independence in any form.
In the statement, China also welcomed Georgia’s early participation in the Global Development Initiative.
Darchiashvili thanked China for “strong support for Georgia’s economic and social development, especially for its assistance in providing anti-pandemic supplies and vaccines to Georgia”. The Georgian Minister said that practical cooperation between Georgia and China enjoyed broad prospects. According to the statement, Georgia always attached great importance to developing relations with China and stood ready to take the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries as an opportunity to deepen practical cooperation in economy, trade and other fields and “strengthen coordination on international and regional issues, to elevate bilateral relations to new heights”.
The Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen of Armenia and the China Foreign Trade Center signed a cooperation agreement
Photo from the event. Source: Armenpress
On April 20, the Union of Manufacturers and Businessmen of Armenia (UMBA) and the China Foreign Trade Center signed a cooperation agreement, Armenpress reported.
According to the agreement, the sides will “aim at establishing mutually-beneficial relations in the business sector between the two countries and enhance lasting cooperation”, implementing joint projects, namely organizing the China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair).
UMBA President Arsen Ghazaryan said that the agreement would enable to more comprehensively explore and study advantages of the Chinese market, as well as the opportunities for enhancing bilateral cooperation and increasing mutual trade turnover.
“Despite the difficult times related to various circumstances, we must try to strengthen and deepen our economic relations as much as possible,” Deputy Director-General of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Canton Fair Yu Yi said.
Chinese state media article quotes disinformation by a Georgian pro-Russian politician
On April 19, Chinese state media outlet China News published an article entitled ‘US biological laboratory work chaos triggers international community’s concern’. The article contained disinformation by David Tarkhan-Mouravi from Georgia’s pro-Russian political party Alliance of Patriots of Georgia:
“Tarkhan-Mouravi said that the US biological laboratories overseas have military purposes and are under the leadership of the US Department of Defense”.
In January-March 2022, China was second-biggest trading partner of Georgia
On April 19, Geostat reported that in January-March 2022, China was the second biggest trading partner of Georgia. The turnover between the two countries amounted to $461.9 million which was 12% of the total trade.
China was Georgia’s third-biggest import partner with $241.9 million (9% of total imports). Compared to January-March 2021, that was a 31.9% growth.
China was Georgia’s biggest trading partner by exports with $220 million, which was 18.8% of total exports. Compared to the same period last year, that was a 100.9% growth. It is noteworthy that the top export item was copper ores and concentrates, amounting to 81% ($178.2 million) of Georgia’s total exports to China.
In January-March 2022, China was Azerbaijan’s third-biggest trade partner
In January-March 2022, China was Azerbaijan’s third-biggest trade partner with $471.4 million, Azernews reported on April 19.
Georgian Ambassador to China says Georgian students should have more opportunities to study high technology, innovation in China
Archil Kalandia. Source: Georgian Embassy in China
On April 20, the Georgian Ambassador to China Archil Kalandia participated in the International Chinese Language Educational Forum held at Beijing Language and Culture University.
During his speech, the Ambassador focused on the intensification of cooperation between Georgia and China in the education field. In this context, Kalandia noted that in the post-pandemic period, Georgian students should have more opportunities in China’s leading universities, not only in terms of language and culture studies but also in mastering the required specialties in the modern world, including high-tech and innovation.
The representatives of the Ministry of Education of China and academic circles attended the meeting.
An event was held at the Canton Fair “to connect Tbilisi and Guangzhou”
On April 19, Prnewswire reported that the 131st Canton Fair had hosted the “Trade Bridge” event on April 14 to connect Tbilisi and Guangzhou. The Fair also “signed a global partnership with Georgia” via an online signing ceremony and arranged a special event for Georgian wine companies.
Reportedly, the Belt and Road Georgian Business House held one-on-one negotiations with more than 10 Chinese wine importers at the event.
Bekar Mikaberidze, the founder of the Belt and Road Georgian Business House, expressed hope that the epidemic would pass soon, and there would be “more convenient and in-depth trade and cultural exchanges between China and Georgia”.
He also plans to open Business Hall in more major cities of China.
Confucius Institute in Tbilisi held contests
On April 19, Confucius Institute at the Free University Tbilisi held Chinese language speech contests for school children and students. The events were held in connection with the Chinese Language Day, which is celebrated on April 20.
Confucius Institute in Tbilisi held essay competitions ‘China in my eyes’
Confucius Institute at the Free University Tbilisi held a competition for students in the Georgian language essay competition ‘China in my eyes’, Confucius Institute at the Free University Tbilisi reported on April 15. On April 14, Confucius Institute at the Free University reportedly organized the same essay competition for school children.
Western Caspian University held an event dedicated to the Chinese Language day
On April 22, an event dedicated to the international day of Chinese Language and Culture was held at Azerbaijan’s Western Caspian University. Reportedly, the event, which was attended by Chinese experts from the Confucius Center, featured a variety of scenes and games reflecting Chinese culture.
Another Confucius Institute in Tbilisi held an event on the occasion of the Chinese Language Day
On the occasion of the Chinese Language Day on April 20, Confucius Institute at Georgia’s Alte University (formerly known as Tbilisi Open University) held an online cultural event “Paper cutting to welcome the Spring Festival and celebrate Chinese Language Day”.