Author: 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 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)


19.4.2021 – 25.4.2021

In January-March, China was Georgia’s third-largest trading partner

On April 19, Geostat reported that during January-March 2021, China was Georgia’s third-largest trading partner – the turnover amounted to $292.6 million, 10.5% of the total.

China was Georgia’s top trading partner by exports with $109.8 million, which was 13.4 % of the total exports. That is an increase of 16.4 % compared to the data from January-March 2020 when this number was $94.3 million.

In January-March 2021, China was Georgia’s third-largest trading partner by imports with $182.8 million, which is 9.4% of Georgia’s total imports. Last year, during the same period, this number was nearly the same – $181.6 million.


Chinese Ambassador met with Armenia’s former leader Serzh Sargsyan

Fan Yong and Serzh Sargsyan. Source: The Embassy of China in Armenia

On April 21, Chinese Ambassador to Armenia Fan Yong met with the former Prime Minister and President of Armenia, Chairman of the Republican Party of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan.

Serzh Sargsyan congratulated the Ambassador on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, “praised the significant achievements by the Communist Party of China in leading the Chinese people in the epidemic prevention and control, economic and social development, thanked China for its support and assistance and noted that the Republican Party of Armenia firmly supported the continuation of the policy of friendship with China and was willing to continue to strengthen the party exchange and cooperation with the Communist Party of China”.

Fan said that CPC was willing to continue inter-party cooperation with friendly parties around the world, including the Republican Party of Armenia, “to enhance the exchange of experience in party building and governance”.


Chinese Ambassador: China is constantly contributing to the fight against the Covid-19 in Georgia

On April 24, the Chinese Ambassador to Georgia Li Yan gave an interview to Georgian Times.

The Ambassador once again praised “China’s fight” against the Covid-19 pandemic and also Georgian government’s efforts to control the epidemic in the country.

The Ambassador said that based on the good quality of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine and market principles, the Georgian government chose to purchase this vaccine.

She also noted that with China’s help Georgia would also receive another Chinese vaccine.

“As a sign of China-Georgia friendship, the supply of Chinese vaccines to Georgia was made with a special agreement… China is actively assisting Georgia with medical supplies. Recently, at the request of the Georgian side, China supplied the Covid-19 vaccine to Georgia. China is constantly contributing to the fight against the epidemic in Georgia,” Li Yan said.


Second container train from Qingdao arrived in Azerbaijan

On April 21, Azertac reported that the second container block train from Qingdao in the direction of China-Azerbaijan arrived at the port of Baku.

A total of 51 containers were delivered from the port of Aktau, Kazakhstan to Baku. According to Azertac, 10 containers from the block train would be sent to Georgia and three to Turkey.

By the end of 2021, ADY Container company plans to transport about 50 container block trains in the direction of China-Azerbaijan.


Georgian Embassy promotes wine exports to China

Shota Abuladze at the event. Source: The Georgian Embassy to China

On April 24, the First Secretary of the Georgian Embassy in China Shota Abuladze participated in the opening ceremony of the Georgian wine pavilion in Yishi, China. The event was organized by the Georgian wine importer company to China, Qeweili.

Shota Abuladze participated in a banquet organized by the company where he addressed the participants about the opportunities to increase Georgian wine exports to China.

According to the Georgian Embassy in China, the company together with its partners plans to open several more Georgian wine houses in China.


Confucius Institute representative discussed China-Azerbaijan cooperation with schoolchildren

On April 23, as a part of the activities within an online project, Understanding China, with the support of the Confucius Institute at Azerbaijan University of Languages, the Chinese language and culture class entered the classroom of the 42nd School in the Azerbaijani city of Sumgait. The topic of the lesson was “Sumgait – Friend of the Far East”.

According to Azertac, the director of the Confucius Institute’s Azerbaijan branch Rafiq Abbasov talked about the development of economic cooperation between Azerbaijan and various regions of China.

“He stressed the significance of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s visit to China to participate in the second international forum of the Belt and Road initiative,” The Azerbaijani news agency reported. The forum in question was held in April 2019.

Abbasov also said that in 2001, Sumgait and Zhuzhou city in China became sister cities.


Georgian and Chinese provinces sign a cooperation agreement 

The officials take part in the online conference. Source: Li Xiaolong/Chinadaily

On April 20, Chinese media reported that on April 15 the Governor of Gansu province, China and Georgia’s Shida Kartli region’s representative signed an agreement on the establishment of friendly and cooperative relations between Gansu and Shida Kartli.

The Governor of Gansu Ren Zhenhe held an online meeting with David Saganelidze, CEO of Partnership Fund of Georgia and Mamuka Saghareishvili, Shida Kartli region representative.

Ren Zhenhe said that Gansu attached great importance to friendly cooperation with Georgia and was willing to establish a firm and cooperative partnership with the Partnership Fund and Shida Kartri. 

According to China Daily, David Saganelidze and Mamuka Saghareishvili said it was important to be a major participant of the Belt and Road Initiative and expressed hope to further deepen exchanges and cooperation with Gansu to jointly promote the Belt and Road Initiative and “to achieve more fruitful results”.

Also, during the meeting Wuwei Bonded Logistics Operations Management Co Ltd signed an online framework cooperation agreement with Partnership Fund of Georgia.


26.4.2021 – 2.5.2021

Georgian Airways starts cargo transportation to Xinjiang

On April 27, reported that Georgian Airways started freight transportation to Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, China.

“Our first destination where we will only have cargo flights with the new Boeing 737-800, will be Urumqi, China. The first flight will be on April 26 and the next flights will be operated 3-4 times a week in the direction of Tbilisi-Urumqi-Tbilisi,” the company noted.


The third Trade House of Azerbaijan opened in China

Azerbaijan trade house in Qingdao. Source: Azernews

On April 27, Azernews reported that the third Trade House of Azerbaijan opened in Qingdao, China.

The Trade House opened with the support of Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Economy and the organization of the Trade Representation at the Azerbaijani embassy in Beijing.

45 types of Azerbaijani products, investments, transport and transit and tourism potential of Azerbaijan are presented at the trade house.

Azerbaijan Ambassador to China Akram Zeynalli, Trade Representative Teymur Nadiroglu and a member of the Standing Committee of the Qingdao Government Liu Jianjun attended the opening ceremony.


Georgian Ambassador met with Chinese representatives

Archil Kalandia in Fuchou. Source: The Embassy of Georgia to China

On April 24-26, Georgian Ambassador to China Archil Kalandia visited Fuzhou, China, where he met with local government representatives.

During the meeting, the two sides discussed the opportunities for bilateral cooperation in the areas of investment, trade, logistics and tourism.

The ambassador participated in the 4th Digital China Summit in Fuzhou, where he addressed representatives of local government and business circles.


Georgia received 100 000 doses of Sinovac Vaccine

Sinovac vaccine in Georgia. Source: Twitter/David Zalkaliani

On April 29, Georgia received 100 000 Sinovac vaccines from China as a donation. The registration for Sinovac shots was not opened immediately.

The Foreign Minister of Georgia David Zalkaliani expressed gratitude to China for donating vaccines.

“Doses of China-donated Sinovac vaccines have arrived to Georgia. A massive thank you to China for the donation, and to Hungary for its contribution to ensure safe transportation of the vaccines. Another great example of perfect cooperation between countries against the destructive enemy – COVID19,” Zalkaliani wrote on Twitter on April 29.


Chinese Ambassador: Hopefully, more Georgian athletes will participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics

On April 28, Interpressnews published an article written by the Chinese Ambassador to Georgia Li Yan entitled: “See you at the Beijing Winter Olympics!”.

The Ambassador expressed the hope that more Georgian athletes would take part in the Beijing Winter Olympics, “show their talents in full and achieve excellent results”.

Li Yan expressed readiness to cooperate with Georgia in the field of sports, especially in winter sports, to share knowledge and experience.

The Ambassador once again praised China’s efforts to control the Covid-19 situation and noted that there were favorable conditions for the successful hosting of the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics.

Li Yan quoted the chairman of the International Olympic Committee, who said that China had created a “new model of the Olympics”.


Armenia received 100 000 doses of Sinovac Vaccine

Armenian representatives and Ambassador Fan Yong. Source: The Chinese Embassy in Armenia

On May 2, Armenia received a batch of 100 000 doses of Chinese vaccine Sinovac as a donation from the Chinese government.

Chinese Ambassador to Armenia Fan Yong, Armenian Deputy Foreign Minister Avet Adonts and representatives from the Armenian Health Ministry arrived at the airport.

The Ambassador said that the two countries were fighting the epidemic together and overcoming the difficulties, “which explained the deep friendship between the two peoples”.

The Deputy Foreign Minister thanked China for providing vaccine aid to Armenia and believed that Chinese vaccines would play a positive role in Armenia’s final victory over the epidemic.


China donates vaccine to Azerbaijan

Li Yan at Azerbaijan’s Health Ministry. Source: Azernews

According to Azernews, China donated 150 000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine to Azerbaijan.

Deputy Health Minister of Azerbaijan Viktor Gasimov and the Chinese Ambassador in Azerbaijan Guo Min signed the “Acts of delivery of Covid-19 pandemic vaccine by the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Azerbaijan”.

The signing ceremony for the supply act was held at Azerbaijan’s Health Ministry on April 27.The Deputy Minister noted that China was a reliable partner and thanked the Chinese side for the imported vaccines. Gasimov said that bilateral cooperation in the fight against Covid-19 would continue.

The Ambassador noted that China and Azerbaijan were ready to deepen their relations.


China was Azerbaijan’s fourth-largest trading partner in the first quarter of 2021

On April 28, Azernews reported that in the first quarter of 2021 China was Azerbaijan’s fourth-largest trading partner with $428.2 million turnover.


Georgian Ambassador held another meeting in China

Archil Kalandia and Jiang Hui. Source: Embassy of Georgia to the People’s Republic of China

On April 29, the Georgian Ambassador of China Archil Kalandia met with Jiang Hui, Chairman of the China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemicals Importers & Exporters.

The two sides discussed possible cooperation topics. Archil Kalandia briefed the Chinese side on the favorable business environment in Georgia and the country’s investment opportunities.


Azerbaijan participated in the International Investment and Trade Exhibition in China

Azerbaijani pavilion in at the exhibition. Source: Azernews

Azerbaijan participated in the International Investment and Trade Exhibition of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) held in Qingdao, China, Azernews reported on April 28.

Azerbaijan presented foods and beverages, as well as the country’s investment, transport, transit and tourism potential. Azerbaijan’s trade representative in China Teymur Nadiroglu made a presentation on business and investment opportunities in the country.

According to the report, during the three-day exhibition, the Azerbaijani delegation was to hold meetings on trade and investment cooperation with local companies.


Chinese municipal representatives visited the Belt and Road Georgian Business House

Bekar Mikaberidze and the Chinese representatives. Source: Belt and Road Georgian Business House

On April 26, representatives from Guangzhou city, China visited Belt and Road Georgian Business House. 

Secretary of the Guangzhou Yuexiu District Committee Wang Huanqing expressed his gratitude for the organization’s work and “positively assessed its active development”.

“We will continue to work actively for the development of the project and will fully support the Belt and Road Initiative,” said Bekar Mikaberidze, the founder of Belt and Road Georgian Business House.


Georgian ruling party MP and Chinese Ambassador discussed development of Georgia-China cultural relations

Eliso Bolkvadze during and online meeting with Li Yan. Source: Culture Committee

On April 27, Georgian MP, a member of the ruling Georgian Dream party and the Chairman of the Culture Committee Eliso Bolkvadze held an online meeting with the Chinese Ambassador Li Yan. 

They discussed the development of cultural relations between the two countries and future prospects. 

According to Eliso Bolkvadze, Li Yan said that there was the Silk Road international theatrical alliance and the Ambassador was interested in having Georgian theaters in this union.

“We will take this into account,” Bolkvadze commented. 

They also discussed the possibility of Chinese pianist Lang Lang’s visit to Georgia.


Tbilisi Free School and Confucius Institute held a Chinese culture event

On April 27, Tbilisi Free School reported that with the help of the Confucius Institute at Tbilisi Free University, schoolchildren dedicated an event to the International Chinese Language Day. 

According to Tbilisi Free School, schoolchildren read poetry and performed a Chinese song while representatives of the Confucius Institute “better introduced” them to the Chinese culture.