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).
29.06.2020 – 5.06.2020
Georgian ruling party member praises Georgia-China cooperation, Belt and Road Initiative
A member of the ruling Georgian Dream party and CEO of Georgia’s Partnership Fund David Saganelidze praised Georgia-China cooperation and Georgia’s participation in the Belt and Road Initiative during the 26th China Lanzhou Investment and Trade Fair that began in Lanzhou, capital of China’s Gansu Province, on 2 July.
The trade fair was mainly held online, with Georgia along with Hungary being a guest of honor. Chinese media reported that, at the opening ceremony, a total of 587 projects were signed with a total value of 273 billion CNY (about 38.8 billion U.S. dollars).
People.cn reports that Saganelidze thanked the Chinese government and people for their moral, technical and material assistance and support to help Georgia fight the coronavirus epidemic – “We will not forget the support shown by Gansu province during the worst time of Georgia’s epidemic.”
Saganelidze said that in recent years, China has been Georgia’s largest trading partner and despite the coronavirus outbreak, the trade volume between Georgia and China from January to April 2020 increased by 9% compared to the same period last year. He emphasized that the Georgian Partnership Fund has played a huge role in deepening and strengthening relations between Georgia and China.
Saganelidze also said that the opening of the Central European train is very important for both Gansu Province and Georgia.
“Georgia is situated at the hub connecting Eurasia and the opening of the railway transportation corridor connecting Eurasia via Georgia is one of the promising plans, which can increase cross-regional railway transportation. Georgia actively participates in the construction of the Belt and Road to become a bridge between the European and Asian markets and an important strategic gateway connecting Europe and China that has huge potential,” – Saganelidze was quoted as saying.
CEO of Georgia’s Partnership Fund said that Gansu is one of the Chinese provinces actively strengthening cooperation with Georgia – “Since October 2019, we had many in-depth and meticulous joint discussions on projects of our mutual interest. It is believed that after the epidemic, the cooperation intentions of the two sides can be gradually carried out and become a reality. A good beginning is one half of success. I believe that friendly cooperation with Gansu will show the expected results”.
David Saganelidze delivers a speech (Photo by Liu Junhai/ www.takungpao.com)
Large cargo arrives from China to Turkey through Baku-Tbilisi-Kars route
On June 30, the cargo from China to Turkey, consisting of 43 containers loaded with electronic devices, passed through Baku International Sea Trade Port, Trend reports. An anonymous source said that the cargo from the Xi’an (capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province) will be headed to Istanbul along the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars route. This is the second freight transshipped on the Xi’an-Istanbul route.
Media reported that Xi’an Free Trade Port Construction and Operations logistics platform will regularly transport goods from China to Turkey along this route.
Armenia supports China diplomatically, says Chinese media
Dozens of countries supported China’s crackdown on Hong Kong, Chinese state media reported. According to this reporting, Armenia was among the countries that expressed their adherence to the one China principle, support for China’s efforts to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and the “one country, two systems” principle.
Georgian ambassador agrees cooperation with a Chinese think tank
On July 1, Georgian Ambassador to China, Archil Kalandia, met with chairman of the Center for China and Globalization (CCG) and counsellor of the State Council, Huiyao Wang. During the meeting, the two sides discussed plans for further cooperation in the future, including organizing exchange visits between Georgian and Chinese expert groups, holding round tables, and academic forums. The sides agreed that after the end of the pandemic, a “concrete and realistic plan” will be launched.
Relationship between the CPC and Azerbaijan’s ruling party praised at a seminar
On July 5, the Azerbaijan University of Languages held an online seminar “The Communist Party of China and the New Azerbaijan Party: The impact of the two parties in contemporary Sino-Azerbaijan relations” to mark the 99th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China.
The director of the Confucius Institute’s Azerbaijan branch Rafiq Abbasov said that the multilateral cooperation and relationship between the New Azerbaijan Party and the Communist Party of China has developed successfully.
Chinese language proficiency competition held in Baku with Chinese embassy’s backing
On July 3, the Embassy of China in Azerbaijan, Baku State University and Confucius Institute hosted the final of the 19th Chinese language proficiency competition Chinese Bridge, held online for students from all over the world.
China’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan Guo Min said that more and more Azerbaijanis were learning Chinese, actively promoting mutual understanding and exchanges between the people of China and Azerbaijan, and making positive contributions to the development of Sino-Azerbaijan relations.
Ambassador Guo Min said that during the pandemic the governments and people of the two countries fought side by side and provided valuable support and solidarity to each other.
6.07.2020 – 12.07.2020.
China’s ambassador discusses military-political cooperation with Armenia’s Defense Minister
Defense Minister of Armenia Davit Tonoyan and Ambassador of China to Armenia Tian Erlong held a meeting, Armenpress reported on July 9.
Two sides noted that Armenia and China have high-level relations and military-political dialogue.
At the meeting, future steps for the development and expansion of cooperation were discussed. Minister and ambassador exchanged views on regional and international security issues.
Davit Tonoyan thanked Tian Elrong for supporting the efforts of the Armenian Government against the coronavirus pandemic.
Armenian Defense Minister, Chinese Ambassador discuss development of cooperation (Source: ARMENPRESS)
Chinese company relocates plant to Western Georgia, plans further investment
On July 10, Agenda reported that a Chinese company Global Recycling is relocating its plastic recycling plant to Khobi in Western Georgia, as a part of the “100 Investment Offers to Business” programme.
The company has purchased 300,000 sq.m. land in Khobi municipality at the auction where firstly it plans to relocate its plastic recycling plant and later will open other factories that are involved in the entire cycle of the production chain.
Georgia’s Minister of Economy Natia Turnava said that in total 50 million GEL will be invested and 400 locals will be employed.
Natia Turnava said this is an example of enterprises relocating from Asia to Georgia after the pandemic.
As Agenda reports, Chairman of HIP Holding, which includes Global Recycling, said that there are “wonderful investment conditions” in Georgia which include free trade agreements with the European Union and China and the “unique geographical location” of Georgia.
13.07.2020 – 19.07.2020
Latest Azerbaijan-China trade dynamic reported
Azerbaijan’s trade turnover with China amounted to $730.1 million in the first five months of 2020, which is 6.6% of the country’s total trade turnover. This is $269.9 million less compared to the indicator of the same period of 2019, although it amounts to a larger share of Azerbaijan’s foreign trade which was 5.18% in the first five months of 2019. According to the information Trend reported on July 13, China is Azerbaijan’s 5th largest trading partner.
Georgia’s Health Minister: Georgia-China relations are at the highest level
On July 15, China donated medical supplies to Georgia to fight Covid-19.
At the handover ceremony, Georgian Minister of Health Ekaterine Tikaradze expressed her gratitude to China for its assistance and emphasized that Georgia has always firmly supported China’s anti-epidemic efforts. Tikaradze said that the cooperation between the two countries in the fight against the coronavirus is very important and it fully reflects the high level of Georgia-China relations, Chinese media reports.
At the ceremony, Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandre Khvtisiashvili also expressed his deep gratitude to China for the support and assistance provided to Georgia since the outbreak of the Covid-19 and expressed Georgia’s willingness to work together with China to collaboratively strive for an early victory over the pandemic.
Chinese Ambassador to Georgia Li Yan pointed out that China highly affirms Georgia’s efforts and achievements in virus prevention and control. Ambassador added that China will continue to carry out in-depth anti-epidemic cooperation with Georgia and promote the deepening of friendly relations between China and Georgia.
Aleksandre Khvtisiashvili, Li Yan and Ekaterine Tikaradze (Source:1tv.ge)
Hong Kong security law: China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research in Armenia stands with CCP
Mher Sahakyan, founder and director of the China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research in Armenia, commented on the Hong Kong security law.
“The enacting and implementation of the Hong Kong National Security Law are purely China’s internal affairs and foreign countries have no right to interfere,” – Chinese state media reported him saying on July 14.
He said that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is an inseparable part of the People’s Republic of China, and China has the right to formulate and enact various laws in its territory to maintain its national security.
Confucius Institute in Azerbaijan holds online seminar for students
On July 18, Confucius Institute at the Azerbaijan University of Languages held an online seminar for 7th grade school students as a part of the online seminar series “Hello, China!”
The director of the Confucius Institute’s Azerbaijan branch Rafiq Abbasov pointed out the significance of holding such seminars. When talking about President Ilham Aliyev’s contribution to the development of friendly relations and comprehensive cooperation between Azerbaijan and China, he presented a book he had wrote – “Ilham Aliyev – Modern Successor of the Friendship of Two Ancient Nations”.
Movement of China-Italy container block train through Azerbaijan and Georgia resumed
On July 14, container trains carrying tomato sauce from China to Italy resumed their traffic.
Azertag reports that a train consisting of 82 containers was delivered from the Kazakh port of Aktau to the Port of Baku by the feeder ship Beket-Ata, operated by ADY Container LLC (a subsidiary of Azerbaijani Railways).
Containers were transported by railway to the Georgian port of Poti, from where they were to be shipped to Italy. The transportation operator is the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route.
Media writes that since Covid-19 pandemic began there has been a disruption in the movement of container trains from China to Italy, which regularly carry tomato sauce.
20.07.2020 – 26.07.2020
Ambassador of Georgia to China and China’s Foreign Ministry official discuss Belt and Road Initiative
On July 20, Ambassador of Georgia to China, Archil Kalandia held a meeting with Sun Lijiang, the general director of East Europe and Central Asia Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China.
Two sides discussed the agenda of bilateral relations, including cooperation directions within the global Belt and Road Initiative.
The Chinese diplomat reiterated Georgia’s successful preventive steps in the fight against Covid-19. Georgian Ambassador thanked the Chinese government for its humanitarian assistance to Georgia during the pandemic.
China – Georgia’s third-largest trading partner
In January-June 2020 China was Georgia’s third-largest trading partner, National Statistics Office of Georgia reported on July 20. Trade turnover with China reached $530.7 million, which is 10.5% of the total turnover.
China is also the third-largest trading partner by imports ($325.6 million). Its share of total imports is 9.2%.
It should be noted that China is Georgia’s top trading partner by exports – $205.1 million, which is 13.6% of total exports. Last year during the same period this number was only $52.4 million.
Source: National Statistics Office of Georgia
Ambassador of China to Georgia appreciates Georgia’s “right attitude” on the Hong Kong issue
On 24 July, Georgian newspaper Rezonansi published an article by Ambassador of China to Georgia, Li Yan where she shared her messages about the new national security law that Beijing implemented in Hong Kong.
Ambassador emphasized that Hong Kong is an integral part of China.
“Since last year, small groups that supported ’Hong Kong Independence‘ and rebels have carried out provocative and violent actions with the support and encouragement of some countries and it has become a serious challenge to Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability,” – said Li Yan about the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement.
Ambassador said that by implementing new security law the central government has acted decisively. She stated that Beijing-imposed law was in line with the “one country, two systems” course, adding that the new security law helps maintain Hong Kong stability and prosperity and is a strong guarantee of deepening contacts and cooperation between Georgia and Hong Kong.
“China and Georgia, as friendly countries, have always respected and supported each other’s core interests. We appreciate Georgia’s consistently right attitude on the Hong Kong issue,” – wrote the Ambassador.
Georgia’s health minister once again expresses gratitude to the government of China
On 22 July, Georgia’s Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradze gave an interview to one of China’s biggest state media outlets Xinhua, where she discussed Georgia’s anti-epidemic efforts.
Tikaradze emphasized that China’s valuable assistance has played an important role in Georgia’s fight against Covid-19. The minister didn’t miss the opportunity to once again thank the Chinese government for the support:
“I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to the Chinese government for active support in Georgia’s fight against Covid-19. As early as the beginning of the epidemic, the Georgian Ministry of Public Health received valuable assistance from China”.
She said that in addition to material assistance, the Chinese side has also organized many video meetings on epidemic prevention and control experience.
Xinhua states that Georgia is considered one of the most successful countries of the region in the control of Covid-19.
The State Council of PRC reports on an interview of the Chinese Ambassador to Georgia
On July 24, Ambassador of China to Georgia Li Yan gave an interview to Georgian media, the State Council of the People’s Republic of China reports.
Ambassador Li reportedly praised China’s economic performance during the Covid-19 pandemic, and once again discussed the new national security law of Hong Kong, characterizing it as very timely and necessary.
The State Council writes that the ambassador also talked about China’s current epidemic situation, vaccine research and development progress, and China-Georgia cooperation in various fields.