|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 Chinese Communist Party (according to the World Press Freedom Index China is nearly at the bottom of the list and ranks 177th out of 180 countries)
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6.9.2021 – 13.9.2021
Armenia and China discuss combining the Eurasian Economic Union and the BRI
Fan Yong and Ararat Mirzoyan. Source: Armenpress
On September 6, the Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ararat Mirzoyan received Chinese Ambassador to Armenia Fan Yong.
During the meeting, the Minister and the Ambassador referred to the cooperation between the countries on multilateral platforms, highlighting the idea of combining the Eurasian Economic Union and the Belt and Road initiative.
It is noteworthy that on September 3, while addressing the opening ceremony of the plenary session of the Sixth Eastern Economic Forum, the Chairman of CCP Xi Jinping said that they needed “to deepen the collaboration between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union…”
According to Armenpress, the Minister and the Ambassador referred to the “centuries-old Armenian-Chinese friendly relations” and reaffirmed the readiness of both countries to make joint steps for the development of the partnership based on mutual respect and trust.
Mirzoyan also thanked China for its support in the fight against the pandemic.
On the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Chinese Ambassador said that China supported the peaceful settlement of the conflict within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, saying it would contribute to the stability of the entire region.
Azerbaijan, China discuss cooperation in the transport and logistics field
During an online video conference, Azerbaijan’s Transport, Communications and High Technologies Minister Rashad Nabiyev and China’s Transport Minister Li Xiaoping discussed the current state of cooperation between China and Azerbaijan in the transport and logistics field, Azernews reported on September 13.
The Chinese Minister noted the importance of developing bilateral relations between the two countries in this sphere.
The two sides agreed that major Chinese transport companies would support a transit route through Azerbaijan.
They also discussed China’s support for the transit of Chinese goods through Azerbaijan’s territory and China’s support in using the potential of the Trans-Caspian international transport route in transporting goods.
At the meeting, the two countries agreed to improve the regulatory frameworks. The Chinese Minister stated that China was ready to support infrastructure, transport and logistics development projects in Azerbaijan. They agreed to create a working group on transport “for more effective implementation of cooperation”, which would be led by the Deputy Ministers.
It was emphasized that Azerbaijan supports China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
The Chinese Minister invited Azerbaijani Minister to participate in the Second UN Global Conference on Sustainable Transport in Beijing on October 14-16.
Georgia is working with China to sign a BRI action plan
On September 8, Chinese media CGTN published an interview with Georgian Ambassador to China Archil Kalandia at the 8th China Inbound-Outbound Forum 2021, a part of the annual 2021 China International Fair for Trade in Services.
Kalandia said that from the beginning Georgia supported the Belt and Road Global Initiative, Georgia was one of the first countries to sign the MOU with Chinese colleagues and that it was positioning itself as the transport, transit and trade hub in the region.
“So definitely, this initiative will help us increase our authority and increase our status,” Kalandia added.
He announced that they were working very hard with Chinese partners to sign “a very important” agreement:
“It will actually be an action plan between Georgia and China under the Belt and Road Initiative and this action plan covers many directions – not only economic directions, or not only energy or infrastructure spheres, [but] also culture, education, tourism etc. So, we have a very good perspective with our Chinese colleagues to deepen and straighten out partnership under the BRI”.
While speaking about Georgia-China economic relations, he mentioned that more and more Georgian companies were entering Chinese markets.
Georgian PM attended Chinese tunnel boring machine launch ceremony
Chinese tunnel boring machine. Source: Xinhua
A Chinese tunnel boring machine was put into use in Georgia, Chinese media reported on September 12.
“The world’s largest tunneling machine for hard rock, built by China Railway Tunnel Group, was assembled and put into use in Georgia to help extend the local transportation system and boost local economic development,” Global Times wrote.
According to China News, at the launching ceremony, the Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili expressed gratitude to the Chinese company for completing the assembly and debugging of the machine as scheduled, and expressed admiration for the professionalism of Chinese engineers.
The machine will be used for the construction of the Kvesheti-Kobi road project, “a major north-south traffic expressway corridor in the country and also infrastructure project under the Belt and Road Initiative”.
It was developed by China Railway Tunnel Bureau Group and China Railway Engineering Equipment Group, using Chinese design and Chinese standards.
The Kvesheti-Kobi road project built by China Railway Tunnel Group includes a 9,000-meter long main tunnel.
According to Global Times, it is the largest single infrastructure project under construction in Georgia and will shorten the traffic hour of the line from 1 hour to 20 minutes.
Georgian PM visited E60 highway section under construction by the China Road and Bridge
Irakli Garibashvili, Kakha Kuchava and others. Source: Weixinso
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili went to the construction site of the F3 section (E60 Ubisa-Shorapani section) of Georgia’s E60 East-West expressway that is under the construction of China Road and Bridge Corporation, Chinese media reported on September 9.
Garibashvili listened to the report on the overall construction progress of the project on-site, checked the construction of Bridge 7, and “gave affirmation and gratitude to China Road and Bridge Corporation for overcoming the impact of the epidemic, orderly advancing the construction of the project and project quality”.
Garibashvili stressed that the Georgia E60 expressway project is the largest and most complex project in Georgia’s history, and it is a century project. He expressed hope that all the builders would continue to work hard to implement the full line as soon as possible.
Kakha Kuchava, the Speaker of the Parliament of Georgia, also attended the meeting.
According to the European Investment Bank, the project consists of the construction of approximately 13 km of a dual two-lane carriageway in Georgia on a new E60 alignment between Ubisa and Shorapani – the F3 Section between Khevi to Argeveti.
On September 12, beam of the #7 bridge in section F3 of the E60 expressway in Georgia was safely erected, China Road and Bridge Corporation reported.
Azerbaijan participated in China International Fair for Trade in Services
Photo from the exhibition. Source: Azernews
Azerbaijan participated in China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) organized by China’s Ministry of Commerce and the Beijing Municipality, an Azerbaijani news agency reported on September 6.
According to Azernews, the Economy Ministry and the organization of Azerbaijan’s trade representative office in China supported the country’s participation.
Azerbaijan presented information about the conditions and the benefits created for foreign investors in the country. Visitors could learn about the transit and transport potential of Azerbaijan, services offered to residents in industrial parks and the opportunities and services offered to investors in the Alat Free Economic Zone. Tourism opportunities in Azerbaijan, food and agriculture products produced under the brand “Made in Azerbaijan” and sold in China were also presented.
The Center for Analysis and Coordination of the Fourth Industrial Revolution under Azerbaijan’s Economy Ministry was represented at the exhibition for the first time.
“This is our third time participating in CIFTIS… We are going to set up a new Alat Free Economic Zone in Azerbaijan next year, and CIFTIS would be a good platform to seek for potential cooperation,” trade representative from the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan to China, Teymur Nadiroghlu, said.
Georgian Dream party MP: China is a supporter and defender of world peace
The ruling Georgian Dream party MP and the head of the Friendship Group with the Parliament of the People’s Republic of China, Giorgi Amilakhvari, published an article in Georgian newspaper Kviris Palitra’s September 6 – September 12 edition, entitled “China and China-Georgia relations through my eyes – the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the CCP”.
“I would like to congratulate our Chinese friends and partners on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party,” he noted.
Amilakhvari wrote about China’s development and that in recent years, China has achieved “great success” in rebuilding the country: “This shows that the reforms and governance in the People’s Republic of China are very correct and focused on dynamic development. China is a supporter and defender of world peace”.
While discussing Georgia-China diplomatic relations, Giorgi Amilakhvari wrote that there was a mechanism for regular political consultations between the foreign ministries of the two countries, which was “an important format for discussing the situation in various fields”.
He also wrote that the Georgian side was interested in strengthening bilateral ties with Chinese research institutes and universities operating under the auspices of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which houses more than 10% of China’s large-scale institutions.
“On behalf of the China-Georgia Parliamentary Group, it is my honour to express our readiness to contribute to the strengthening of the parliamentary diplomacy of the two countries,” Amilakhvari wrote at the end of his article.
Azerbaijan investment and trade seminar was held in Beijing
Photo from the event. Source: Azertac
On September 7, the Azerbaijan investment and trade seminar within the framework of the China International Fair for Trade in Services was held in Beijing.
Chen Huaming, Deputy Director, Trade Development Bureau of the Ministry of Commerce of the People’s Republic of China, noted that Azerbaijan was an important partner of China in the Belt and Road Initiative.
The report noted CCP’s chairman Xi Jinping’s and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s conversation in June 2021 when they discussed deepening cooperation in international transportation and logistics, promoting the building of the Asia-Europe transportation corridor and other issues. He emphasized that the two countries have begun the work in this direction.
Teymur Nadiroglu, a trade representative from Azerbaijani Embassy in China also gave a speech. He said that the Azerbaijan 2030: National Social and Economic Development Priorities document, approved by the decree of President Ilham Aliyev, recognized the main priorities for Azerbaijan’s socio-economic development in the next 10 years. The priority related to the non-oil sectors to attract foreign investment, including from China, an Azerbaijani media reported.
He said that after the regaining of Karabakh and East Zangezur, there were huge opportunities for the restoration of these territories and the development of related economic activities, and underlined the contribution of the Zangezur Corridor to regional cooperation.
Georgia receives 100,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine from the Red Cross of China
The Georgia Red Cross received Chinese vaccines. Source: Georgia Red Cross Society
On September 12, the Georgia Red Cross received 100,000 units of the Sinopharm vaccine from the Red Cross Society of China as a gift.
“The Georgia Red Cross society thanks the Red Cross of China and the people of China for the huge support,” Georgia Red Cross Society wrote.
Natia Loladze, Olga Dzhumaeva, Li Yan. Source: Olga Dzhumaeva/Twitter
Olga Dzhumaeva, International Federation of Red Cross Head of Country Cluster for South Caucasus, and President of Red Cross Georgia Natia Loladze also held an online meeting with the Chinese Ambassador to Georgia Li Yan.
“Vaccine inequity is unacceptable. Vaccinations must happen everywhere – soonest. Red Cross Society of China donates 100,000 Sinopharm vaccines to Georgia via Red Cross Georgia. Incredible meeting today with Ambassador Li Yan on COVID-19, vaccinations & deepening our cooperation,” Olga Dzhumaeva wrote on September 10.
According to the Chinese Embassy report regarding the meeting, the Chinese side is willing to continue to strengthen exchanges with the two sides, “guided by the concept of establishing the community with shared future for mankind and the community of common health for mankind”.
Georgian Ambassador to China: Georgia is looking for greater participation in the BRI
As a result of cooperation between the Embassy of Georgia in China and the publishing house LOOKWE, a bilingual (English-Chinese), 83-page September issue was published on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Georgia’s independence, Georgian Embassy in China reported on September 13.
The issue included a message from the Georgian Ambassador to China, Archil Kalandia.
As part of the fast and sustainable development of Georgia, Kalandia noted the strengthening and deepening cooperation with Asian countries “where China plays a very important role”.
He wrote that with its strategic location, Georgia was looking for greater participation in the grand Belt and Road Initiative that would bring economic growth and would reinforce sustainable development.
The Ambassador noted that more and more Chinese companies were entering the Georgian market and welcomed Chinese companies launching their business activities in Georgia in steadily growing numbers.
“In this difficult time, support of the Chinese government is greatly appreciated by the people and the Government of Georgia,” Kalandia wrote and discussed Georgia-China pandemic cooperation.
Archil Kalandia took the opportunity and congratulated Chinese colleagues and friends on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China:
“During the past decades, with the consistent policy of the ruling party, China has become a country of global importance. The fact is that the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics has formed a series of unique methods and experiences in the development of society, technical progress and party building”.
According to the Georgian Embassy report, the publishing house will distribute 2000 copies to government agencies, partner companies (target groups of Chinese investment and tourism companies) and the governments of the provinces and autonomous regions of China.
14.9.2021 – 19.9.2021
Armenia “spoke highly of China’s human rights achievements” at the UN
According to Chinese media, at the 48th session of the Human Rights Council on September 14 and 15, Armenia, Venezuela, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), South Sudan, Laos, Sri Lanka, Dominica, Maldives, Tanzania and other countries “spoke highly of China’s human rights achievements and pointed out that the affairs of Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet are China’s internal affairs, and the outside world should not interfere”.
Armenia stated that it adhered to the one-China principle, appreciated China’s resolute measures to eradicate poverty and created equal opportunities for the development of all people, and appreciated China’s efforts to promote the right to health, the report said.
The President of the Georgian National Wushu Federation wrote an article regarding CCP’s anniversary
Giorgi Verulidze, the President of the Georgian National Wushu Federation, published an article in Georgian newspaper Kviris Palitra’s September 13 – September 19 edition, entitled “China and China-Georgia relations through my eyes – the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the CCP”.
He congratulated Chinese people on the 100th anniversary of the establishment of CCP and wrote that “the Chinese Communist Party, according to its charter, is the vanguard of the Chinese working class, the people and the Chinese nation, the core of socialism with Chinese characteristics”.
“As the President of the Georgian National Wushu Federation, I have been promoting cooperation and ties in the field of culture between Georgia and China for many years…” he wrote.
Chinese Embassy assists small-scale projects in Azerbaijan
Guo Min. Source: The Chinese Embassy in Azerbaijan
The Chinese Ambassador to Azerbaijan Guo Min attended the completion ceremony of the Embassy-assisted small-scale livelihood project, the Chinese Embassy in Azerbaijan reported on September 17.
Guo Min attended the completion ceremony of the Embassy-assisted Baku’s N218 Middle School playground and Baku’s N119 Middle School, and visited the multimedia education classroom assisted by the Confucius Institute of Azerbaijan University of Languages.
The Embassy wrote that over the years, the Chinese Embassy in Azerbaijan and the Heydar Aliyev Foundation have actively planned and implemented many school building renovation and equipment renewal projects in Azerbaijan. “The Embassy is willing to continue to maintain close cooperation with the foundation and contribute to the development of the Azerbaijani people’s livelihood,” the report said.
On September 1, the Embassy-assisted reconstruction of the playground of Nizami Ganjavi N5 Middle School in Sabirabad was completed. Embassy Counselor Li Jinsong attended the completion ceremony.
Armenian Ambassador to China praises “Made in China”
On September 15-17, 39 diplomatic envoys from 21 countries visited Zhejiang Province, China and visited enterprises in Hangzhou and Jiaxing “to experience Zhejiang’s high-quality development”, Chinese media Xinhua reported.
According to the report, Armenian Ambassador to China Sergey Manassarian said that many years ago, Chinese products were cheap, but some had poor quality:
“Nowadays all of this has undergone a tremendous reversal. Made in China already has become a guarantee of high quality! Now, recommending Made in China to my family and friends has become my daily work”.
Azerbaijani Ambassador to China attended an operetta by Azerbaijani composer
Photo from the event. Source: Azerbaijani Embassy to China
On September 17, Azerbaijani Embassy to China reported that operetta “The Cloth Peddler” by the Azerbaijani composer Uzeyir Hajibeyli was once again staged in China.
Azerbaijani Ambassador to China Akram Zeynalli said that the ancient Silk Road had played an important role in the cultural development of mankind, and “as a country located on the ancient Silk Road, Azerbaijan has always been a country with rich cultural heritage, including music and literature, throughout history”.
According to the report, a new premiere was presented at the Silk Road International Arts Center in Langfang on September 16, as a part of the “The Belt and Road – The Great Wall International Folk Culture and Arts Festival” in China.
This was organized with the support of the Ministry of Culture of Azerbaijan, the Embassy of Azerbaijan in China, the People’s Government of Hebei Province, Tianjin Municipality and ENN Group. Government officials and diplomats attended the event.
China is Azerbaijan’s third-largest partner by import
During January-August 2021, China was Azerbaijan’s third-largest partner by import with $1 billion, Azernews reported on September 16.