China’s Activities in the South Caucasus
Issue 56, 4.07.2022 – 10.07.2022
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 175th out of 180 countries)
- Huawei to open a research laboratory in Azerbaijan
- Georgian Ambassador to China notes “the importance of Georgia’s active involvement” in the BRI
- In January-May, Armenia’s imports from China grew by 66.5%
- Chinese government representative expressed hope for the deepening of China-Georgia cooperation within the BRI
- Chinese university signs cooperation memorandum with an Armenian think tank
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News from June 15 and July 1
Huawei to open a research laboratory in Azerbaijan
Huawei will open a research laboratory in Azerbaijan in the new academic year, the country’s Digital Development and Transport Minister Rashad Nabiyev said during a meeting with local IT entrepreneurs, Azernews reported on June 15. The plan was first announced in December 2021.
Chinese Ambassador to Georgia gave an interview to TV24
On July 1, TV24 published an interview with the Chinese Ambassador to Georgia Zhou Qian, where he discussed China-Georgia relations, China and its plans, and other issues.
“I would especially like to emphasize the cooperation between the two countries within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative,” the Chinese Ambassador said while discussing China-Georgia relations for 30 years.
He also said that for many Chinese, Georgia was associated with two things: Stalin and wine.
When the Interviewer Badri Natchkebia asked him about the prospects of Georgia-China cooperation in Chinese medicine, the Ambassador said that in recent years, at the initiative of the Ministry of Commerce of China and the National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, this direction had been added to several free trade agreements signed between China and other countries: “We reached an agreement with Georgia, Peru, and Switzerland on trade cooperation in traditional Chinese medicine services. This is a significant success”.
Chinese Ambassador, Armenian Minister deliver speeches at the Chinese Bridge contest
Fan Yong at the event. Source: Armenia’s Education, Science, Culture and Sports Ministry
The Chinese Bridge contest was held in Armenia, the couuntry’s Education, Science, Culture and Sports Ministry reported on July 1.
The Chinese Ambassador to Armenia Fan Yong noted that the teaching and studying of Chinese in Armenia was advancing, with the number of Chinese language learners and the interest of Armenian youth in Chinese culture growing, which contributed “to the strengthening of the centuries-old friendship of the two ancient countries – Armenia and China”.
Armenia’s Education, Science, Culture, and Sports Deputy Minister Zhanna Andreasyan expressed gratitude to the Embassy of China in Armenia for holding “an important event” and highlighted “the importance” of the Armenian-Chinese bilateral relations: “The wide scope of cooperation programs between our countries, which includes student exchange programs, expansion of cooperation in education, science, and technology, the activities of the Armenian-Chinese Friendship School in Yerevan, conducting training programs, and organizing joint events, is a priority for Armenia’s Education, Science, Culture and Sports Ministry”.
This year’s theme of the Chinese Bridge was “[The land/All] under heaven [is] one family” (Tianxia yijia 天下一家). Reportedly, the Chinese Bridge contest in Armenia is annually organized as part of the close cooperation between the Embassy of China in Armenia and the Confucius Institute of the Brusov State University.
4.07.2022 – 10.07.2022
Chinese government representative expressed hope for the deepening of China-Georgia cooperation within the BRI
A photo from the event. Source: The Embassy of Georgia in China
On July 8, a reception was held in Beijing for the Independence Day of Georgia and the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Georgia and China.
Special Representative of the Government of China for Eurasian Affairs Li Hui noted “the strong friendly and partnership relations” between China and Georgia, “which was further strengthened during the global pandemic”, and expressed hope for the deepening of cooperation between the parties within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.
According to the Georgian Embassy in Beijing, the Georgian Ambassador to China Archil Kalandia addressed the attendees, noting among other issues the importance of intensifying contacts within the framework of the Belt and Road Global Initiative.
The representatives of Chinese state agencies, business, cultural and academic circles also attended the event.
Georgian Ambassador to China notes “the importance of Georgia’s active involvement” in the BRI
A photo from the forum. Source: The Embassy of Georgia in China
On July 5, the Georgian Ambassador to China Archil Kalandia participated in the 10th World Peace Forum in Beijing, the Georgian Embassy in Beijing reported.
In the panel held within the forum, entitled Promoting High-Quality Belt and Road International Cooperation, Kalandia was one of the speakers, noting “the importance of Georgia’s active involvement in the Belt and Road Initiative” and drawing special attention to Georgia’s trade, as well as regarding its transport, transit, and logistics possibilities.
In January-May, Armenia‘s imports from China grew by 66.5%
In January-May, Armenia’s trade with China amounted to $543.8 million, Massispost reported on July 8.
Reportedly, exports to China from Armenia went down 17.8% to $142.5 million compared to the same period last year, but imports from China grew by 66.5% to $257.4 million.
Georgian Minister and Chinese Ambassador discussed healthcare cooperation
Zhou Qian and Zurab Azarashvili. Source: The Chinese Embassy in Georgia
On July 6, the Chinese Ambassador Zhou Qian met with the Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia Zurab Azarashvili.
According to the Chinese Embassy in Georgia, the parties discussed the issues of cooperation between the two countries in healthcare and against Covid-19.
The Georgian Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Labor, Health and Social Affairs wrote that Zurab Azarashvili thanked the Ambassador for the assistance rendered to Georgia.
Chinese university signs cooperation memorandum with an Armenian think tank
A memorandum of understanding aimed at enhancing cooperation was signed between Armenia’s China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research and the Renmin University of China, China Daily reported.
Mher Sahakyan, the founding head of the Armenia-based institution focusing on China and Eurasia research, and Yang Guangbin, the Dean of RUC’s School of International Studies signed the document on July 7.
The document covers conducting joint conferences, seminars, courses, expert consultation, implementation of research projects, preparation of publications, and the exchange of academic information and publications.
Yang said the University hoped to expand academic and cultural communications between China and Armenia to promote bilateral exchanges.
Zheng Yuntian, the Director of the World Socialism Institute with the RUC School of International Studies, said the MoU represented the friendship between the Chinese and Armenian people.
Zheng said as the Belt and Road Initiative was becoming more important to Eurasia, scholars should take up the responsibility to contribute to relevant studies.
Chinese Embassy held meeting with Chinese-funded enterprises in Georgia
A photo from the meeting. Sources: The Chinese Embassy in Georgia
On July 4, the Chinese Embassy in Georgia held a discussion with 16 Chinese-funded enterprises’ representatives in Georgia. Chinese Ambassador Zhou Qian attended the meeting and delivered a speech.
Chinese Embassy and Heydar Aliyev Foundation cooperated to reconstruct pitches in Azerbaijan
Guo Min delivering her speech. Source: The Heydar Aliyev Foundation
On July 9, football, basketball, and volleyball pitches at N262 Secondary School in Baku, reconstructed as part of cooperation between the Heydar Aliyev Foundation and the Embassy of China in Azerbaijan, were commissioned.
According to the Heydar Aliyev Foundation report, the Chinese Ambassador to Azerbaijan Guo Min said that the relations between Azerbaijan and China were based on mutual trust. Guo Min noted that the cooperation yielded fruitful results “thanks to the attention of the heads of states”. The Ambassador added that such projects contributed to the development of relations between the two countries.
Azerbaijani MP Soltan Mammadov also attended the event and delivered a speech.
Hong Kong and mainland China are among the largest exporters of mobile phones to Georgia
In January-May 2022, Georgia purchased mobile phones worth $102.132 million, bpn.ge reported on July 4.
Hong Kong was the second-largest exporter of mobile phones to Georgia ($17.061 million), and mainland China was the fourth-largest one ($10.702 million).