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)
3.5.2021 – 9.5.2021
Chinese Ambassador: South Caucasus countries actively support the BRI
On May 6, the Chinese Ambassador to Azerbaijan Guo Min gave an interview to the Baku Tribune.
The Ambassador said that the South Caucasus countries were key partners who actively supported the Belt and Road cooperation.
Guo Min noted that the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was an integral part of the Belt and Road cooperation and served as a key bridge that connected the eastern and western ends of Eurasia.
According to her, China-Europe Railway Express routes have effectively boosted the trade between China and Azerbaijan. As Ambassador said, according to statistics from China, the China-Europe Railway Express conducted 12 406 trips throughout the year, up by 50% compared to the previous year.
Guo Min said she hoped that the potential of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway would improve further and there would be better prospects for future cooperation in transportation and logistics between China and Azerbaijan.
The Chinese Ambassador also commented on the planned Zanegzur (southern Armenia) corridor:
“Building the new corridor for transportation to Europe via Armenia, Nakhchivan and Turkey is a major step taken in alignment with the joint statement on the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh implemented among Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia and will play an active part in promoting peace and stability for the region”.
China’s Ambassador in Armenia publishes an article
On May 3, an article by the Chinese Ambassador to Armenia Fan Yong, “A friend in need is a friend indeed – join hands together to fight the epidemic” was published by the Armenian National News Agency.
The Ambassador noted that Chinese vaccine assistance to Armenia was the latest practical measure in the China-Armenia joint fight against the Covid-19 crisis and it showed the deep feelings of the two countries’ people in need. He wrote that China would not forget Armenia’s help to China during the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis.
He repeated the words of Xi Jinping that within two years China would provide international assistance to the affected countries, especially developing countries. Fan Yong noted that Chinese vaccines would be “a global public product” and would be accessible and affordable to developing countries.
He wrote that China opposed “vaccine nationalism” and claimed that it was not engaged in vaccine diplomacy.
The Chinese Minister of Commerce visited the Belt and Road Georgian Business House
Bekar Mikaberidze and Wang Wentao. Source: The Belt and Road Georgian Business House
On May 7, the Minister of Commerce of China Wang Wentao, who was on an official visit to the city of Guangzhou, visited the Exhibition Pavilion of the Belt and Road Georgian Business House.
The founder of Belt and Road Georgian Business House Bekar Mikaberidze personally hosted the Minister, introduced products of different countries and tasted Georgian lemonade.
The Minister of Commerce “expressed great support” for the development of the Business House.
“The development of our organization means the strengthening of relations between the two countries and the strengthening of the country is the economic development of the people living in the country,” Bekar Mikaberidze said.
Georgia to receive more Chinese vaccines
500 000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine are to be delivered to Georgia in June, Tabula quoted Director-General of the National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health of Georgia Amiran Gamkrelidze as saying on May 7.
On May 8, Georgia’s Health Ministry reported that the Red Cross would donate 100 000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine to Georgia.
Chinese Ambassador donated books to the Confucius Institute at the Baku State University
For the 29th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Azerbaijan (April 2) and the World Book and Copyright Day (April 23), the Chinese Ambassador to Azerbaijan Guo Min donated to the Science Library of the Baku State University books on Chinese history, philosophy, science, politics, technology, economy, culture and other topics.
The books were handed over to the Confucius Institute at the Baku State University, Azertac reported on May 5.
A picture released by Azertac showed that one of the donated books was Xi Jinping’s “The Governance of China”.
Free University’s Confucius Institute held another competition in Georgia
The Confucius Institute at Free University of Tbilisi organized an essay contest for schoolchildren with the theme “China in My Eyes”, the Institute reported on May 9. Participants were asked to compare the cultures of Georgia and China.
10.5.2021 – 16.5.2021
Chinese Ambassador hopes that more Azerbaijani athletes will participate in Beijing Olympics
On May 13, the Chinese Ambassador in Azerbaijan Guo Min published an article in an Azerbaijan state news agency about the planned 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Guo Min expressed hope that more Azerbaijani athletes would participate in Beijing Winter Olympics:
“We look forward to more outstanding players from Azerbaijan being able to participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics, show their talents and achieve excellent results”.
According to the Ambassador, the preparations for the Beijing Winter Olympics and the Paralympics have once again “reflected the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, the advantages of the nationwide system and the system of concentrating efforts on major events”.
The Armenian Olympic Committee: Armenia will fully support the Beijing Olympics
On May 12, the Chinese Ambassador to Armenia Fan Yong met with the President of the Armenian Olympic Committee and the chairman of the Prosperous Armenia party Gagik Tsarukyan.
Fan Yong thanked him for his “positive contribution” to the promotion of China-Armenia friendship.
According to Tsarukyan, he believes that the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics will be held successfully “and the Armenian Olympic Committee will fully support and send a delegation to participate”. He said he was looking forward to this opportunity to further enhance the friendship of the peoples of Armenia and China.
According to the Chinese Embassy, as the chairman of the Prosperous Party, Tsarukyan is willing to further strengthen inter-party contact and cooperation and make joint efforts with the Chinese side to promote bilateral friendly and cooperative relations to a higher level.
Georgian Ambassador expressed gratitude to the Chinese government and Sinopharm
Yan Bing and Archil Kalandia. The Embassy of Georgia in China
On May 14, the Georgian Ambassador to China Archil Kalandia held a meeting with Yan Bing, the Vice President of the China Sinopharm International Corporation.
During the meeting, the Ambassador expressed gratitude to the Government of China and the leadership of Sinopharm “for their successful cooperation with Georgia during the Covid-19 pandemic, the support of the country and the delivery of vaccines in Georgia”.
He also congratulated the Vice President on the emergency authorization of vaccines by the World Health Organization.
According to the Georgian Embassy in China, Yan Bing stressed the importance of cooperation with the Georgian side and the two sides agreed to continue the coordinated work.
China was Armenia’s second-largest trade partner in January-March 2021
In January-March 2021, Armenia’s trade turnover with China amounted to $ 224 348 000, where export amounted to $ 79 164 000 and import to $ 145 183 700.
On May 13, Armenpress reported that in January-March 2021, the $ 79 164 000 export was a 95.1% increase against the same period of 2020.
Armenia’s biggest trade partner during January-March 2021 was Russia.
Confucius Institute in Azerbaijan held another event
According to Azertac, “to promote friendly exchanges of Chinese and Azerbaijani traditional culture and enhance students ability to demonstrate Chinese language”, on May 8, the Confucius Institute at the Baku State University held an online meeting “China and Azerbaijan on the tip of the tongue”.
The teachers of the Confucius Institute and the Baku State University Chinese studies students attended the meeting.
Georgian wine export to China increased by 19%
In January-April 2021, the top Georgian wine importing countries were Russia, Ukraine, Poland and China.
1 559 533 bottles of Georgian wine were exported to China – a 19% increase compared to the same period of 2020.
According to the Georgian wine agency, in January-April 2021, up to 28.3 million bottles of wine were exported from Georgia to 55 countries around the world.