|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 175th out of 180 countries)
Read the full publication:
News from February 23 and March 10
Armenia’s Anti-Corruption Committee Chairman and Chinese Ambassador discuss cooperation
The Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Committee of Armenia Sasun Khachatryan met with the Chinese Ambassador Fan Yong and spoke about the functions and priorities of the newly established anti-corruption body, Arminfo reported on February 23.
Khachatryan expressed confidence that the establishment of interaction with Chinese partners and the exchange of experience would “have a positive impact on the work of law enforcement agencies of both countries”.
The Ambassador stressed that an effective cooperation environment had already been formed between Armenia and China, “so it would be great if the parties tried to strengthen cooperation in the law enforcement field, especially since the governments of both countries have the necessary will and determination to fight corruption”.
Reportedly, Khachatryan noted the development of the capabilities of operational staff and the use of the latest methods in anti-corruption measures among the priorities of the body and expressed hope that the Chinese side would also be able to provide support in this matter.
The two sides agreed to “deepen the newly established ties and work effectively towards the exchange of experience and the implementation of a number of other programs”.
Chinese companies are among the top investor companies in Georgia
On March 10, Bm.ge reported on the top 10 companies by investments made in enterprises in Georgia in 2022. One of the companies on the list is China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited Georgia Branch.
According to Bm.ge, Chinese Hualing international special economic zone, and China State Construction Engineering Corporation Limited Georgia Branch, are among the list of top 20 companies according to the investment made in the country at the end of the last year (4th quarter of 2022).
13.3.2023 – 26.3.2023
Salome Zourabichvili and Fridon Injia congratulate Xi Jinping on his third term as China‘s leader
On March 20, China’s state-controlled China Daily published a material entitled “Highlights of foreign congratulatory messages on Xi’s election as Chinese president”.
Among those who also sent congratulatory messages to Xi Jinping were Georgian President, Salome Zourabichvili, and the Chairman of Georgia’s European Socialists party, Fridon Injia.
China’s Guizhou Province and Georgia’s Imereti region discuss cooperation prospects
A photo from the meeting. Source: www.imereti.gov.ge
On March 23, China’s Guizhou Province and Georgia’s Imereti region held a video work exchange event to discuss “matters related to friendly cooperation and the establishment of sister province-state relations”, China’s Seetao reported.
Zhang Hanlin, the Party Secretary and the Director of the Guizhou Provincial Foreign Affairs Office said that China’s Guizhou was willing to carry out friendly cooperation with the local government of Georgia to serve to build a friendly relationship between China and Georgia.
Reportedly, this online connection was the first meeting between Guizhou province and Georgia’s Imereti region, aiming to “promote friendly cooperation between Guizhou and countries along the Belt and Road Initiative, and serve Guizhou Province’s deep integration into the Belt and Road Initiative”.
Zhang Hanlin informed the Georgian side that Guizhou had unique advantages in transportation infrastructure, energy resources, tourism resources, ecology, and other fields.
He also said that Imereti was one of the main wine-producing areas in Georgia, and expressed hope to strengthen cooperation between the two regions in the fields of winemaking technology and trade. He also invited Imereti to participate in the 2023 China International Wine and Spirits Expo.
Reportedly, Imereti State Commissioner Zviad Shalamberidze was very interested in Guizhou and expressed hope to cooperate with the Chinese side. He expressed his willingness to introduce wine-related industries to China during the Guizhou Wine Expo. Shalamberidze also said that Imereti was rich in coal resources and had direct international flights to Europe, international universities, and nature reserves. He said he hoped to further expand cooperation with Guizhou in related fields.
According to imereti.gov.ge, at the meeting, the parties discussed opportunities for cooperation in the fields of agriculture, education, trade, business, and infrastructure. Shalamberidze also emphasized the potential for investments.
He said that it was important for the Georgian side to cooperate in the field of education, which would promote the mobility of both students and academic staff. Shalamberidze also offered that the two sides could discuss direct air traffic between Imereti and Guizhou province.
Azerbaijan’s ruling party Deputy Chairman comments positively on Xi Jinping’s idea
According to a March 16 China Daily report, Tahir Budagov, the Deputy Chairman of Azerbaijan’s ruling New Azerbaijan Party, “highly approves” General Secretary Xi Jinping’s proposition that political parties should have a greater effect in advancing the modernization course. As the Chinese state-controlled media reported, he said that the New Azerbaijan Party expressed hope “to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the Chinese Communist Party and further promote the development of bilateral relations”.
Chinese Ambassador in Georgia promotes Global Civilization Initiative
On March 22, the Chinese Ambassador to Georgia, Zhou Qian, published an article entitled “Peaceful Development and Sharing Experiences Among Civilizations – China’s Response to an Unsustainable World” in NewsDay where he promoted China-proposed Global Development Initiative, Global Security Initiative, and Global Civilization Initiative.
The Ambassador also wrote the following: “The crisis in Ukraine continues. From food security to nuclear threats and security risks, the winds and fires of war are affecting the entire world. It poses serious challenges to states, including Georgia, and significantly affects global security and economy”.
He noted that in the future, China would “continue to promote peace talks, support a political solution to the Ukraine crisis, unite peace-loving countries with each other, including Georgia, and lead the cause of world peace through practical actions”.
Zhou Qian wrote that according to the three initiatives, China was ready to actively work with “peace-loving and independent developing countries, including Georgia, to deepen cooperation at a high level within the framework of the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, firmly protect peace in the Eurasian continent and the whole world, promote joint development, experience sharing between civilizations and to create a ‘community of a shared future'”.
Azerbaijani Ambassador on China-Azerbaijan relations: There is no area in bilateral relations where active cooperation is not found
Akram Zeynalli. Source: CGTN
On March 20, the Azerbaijani Ambassador to China Akram Zeynalli published an article entitled “Azerbaijan-China ties: Enjoying opportunities by a shared future” in the Chinese state-controlled CGTN.
The Ambassador discussed China’s concept of a “community of shared future for mankind” and wrote that by launching this initiative, China proposed to promote “peaceful development in the world and form a more harmonious and just world order”.
On the Belt and Road Initiative he wrote that since 2013 it had been a very attractive cooperation project, which “boosted economic and social welfare in many participating countries and proved its viability with concrete results”.
“First of all, it should be emphasized that the BRI brings countries and peoples closer to each other and deepens not only economic ties but also people-to-people exchanges… It is no coincidence that the BRI, which received wide international support from the first moment of its announcement, was also supported by the Republic of Azerbaijan, which made its significant contribution to the successful implementation of the project,” the Azerbaijani Ambassador noted.
In his article, the Ambassador also said that “especially due to the geopolitical processes taking place in the world in recent times”, Chinese companies began to show greater interest in transportation along the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route (TITR), and a significant increase in transportation along the mentioned route was observed last year.
“Today Azerbaijan-China bilateral relations are characterized as multifaceted partnership relations based on friendship, mutual respect, and trust, with high development dynamics,” Zeynalli wrote and noted that Azerbaijan considered expanding and deepening its relations with China as one of the main priorities of its foreign policy, and activities in this direction were of strategic importance for them.
According to his estimation, Azerbaijan-China relations are currently at such a stage of development that “there is no area in bilateral relations where active cooperation is not found”.
“It gives us a reason to say that Azerbaijan-China relations have essentially reached a new stage in recent years and are experiencing the brightest period in its history,” the Azerbaijani Ambassador added.
The Armenian Ambassador comments about “Chinese modernization”
Sergey Manasaryan. Source: China Daily
On March 17, the Chinese state-controlled China Daily published an interview with the Armenian Ambassador to China, Sergey Manasaryan, where he commented on “Chinese modernization”.
About the Chinese modernization, the Ambassador said that it was “not the same, not a copy of the western way or Asian way”, and it was “a unique one”.
While expressing his view on the “Chinese path to modernization” Manasaryan said the following: “First of all, to strongly keep the way fixed by the ruling party, in our case, CCP, after that, to implement high-level quality development for different directions, from economy to culture, social life, etc. The next one is to enrich the spiritual affinity of society… To support the process of creation for the community of common destiny, this is one of the slogans of the Belt and Road Initiative… Finally, to create a new form of civilization as a result of that”.
Chinese state company China Road and Bridge Corporation was working on a section of the East-West highway in Georgia, where the road section collapsed
According to a CBW report, the Chinese state company China Road and Bridge Corporation was identified as the contractor responsible for the Ubisa-Shorapni section of the East-West highway in Georgia, where the road section collapsed on March 13.
The Ministry of Infrastructure confirmed that the company was working on the 13-kilometer stretch of road and that the budget for the project was 901,973,206 GEL, with the construction contract signed in November 2018. Reportedly, investigations into the incident were ongoing.
China was Georgia’s third-biggest trading partner in January-February 2023
On March 20, Geostat reported that in January-February 2023, China was Georgia’s third-biggest trading partner with $246.4 million which was 8.5% of the total trade turnover.
China was Georgia’s third-biggest export partner ($112.4 million) which was 12.3% of Georgia’s total exports. Compared to the same period last year, that amounted to a 17.8% growth.
China was also Georgia’s third-biggest trading partner by imports with $134 million which was 6.8% of total imports. Compared to January-February 2022, that constituted a 6.3% decline.
China resumes outbound group tours to Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia
On March 15, China resumed outbound group tours to another 40 countries and regions, including Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia, China’s ECNS reported.
Container delivery cost from China through Georgia and Azerbaijan reduced, Azerbaijani Minister says
According to March 15 Trend report, the Minister of Digital Development and Transport of Azerbaijan Rashad Nabiyev said, that the cost of delivery of one container from China through Georgia and Azerbaijan had been reduced from $5 000 to $3 200 and this cost would remain fixed for the next three years.
EurAsiaAz Director publishes pro-Beijing, anti-West article in China’s state-controlled media
On March 24, the Director of the international expert club EurAsiaAz and editor-in-chief of Azerbaijani news agency Baku Tribune, Seymur Mammadov, published another pro-Beijing, anti-West article at China’s state-controlled China Daily.
He claimed that the policy of the Communist Party was “balanced, wise and, most importantly, directed inward” adding that this was the “opposite of the Western way”, which was “based on expansion, suppression and eternal competition for the right to be the first and only”.
“China has created an alternative modernization model, and the model is very successful and working,” Mammadov claimed.
He also commented positively on China’s new Global Civilization Initiative as being “one of the keys to global stability and security”.
Georgian Professor praises China‘s “community with a shared future for mankind”
An article entitled “A community with a shared future for mankind: China’s vision for global governance” praising China’s “community with a shared future for mankind” by Giga Kikoria, an Assistant Professor at the Business School of the Alte University in Tbilisi, Georgia was published by the Chinese state-controlled outlet CGTN on March 19.
According to Kikoria, the “concept emphasizes the need for countries to work together in pursuit of common goals, rather than pursuing narrow self-interest and competing for power and resources”.
The author claims that “the concept of ‘a community with a shared future for mankind’ represents a vision of a better world, one where we recognize our shared humanity and work together to build a brighter future for all. It is a vision that we should all embrace, and one that China has an important role to play in bringing to fruition”.