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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20.9.2021 – 26.9.2021
Xi Jinping says he is ready to deepen political trust, strengthen ties with Armenia
Chairman of CCP Xi Jinping congratulated Armenian President Armen Sarkissian on the Independence Day of Armenia, Armenpress reported on September 21.
Xi Jinping noted that he highly appreciated the Armenian-Chinese relations and was ready to make efforts together with Sarkissian to deepen “political mutual trust, strengthen traditionally friendly relations and encourage mutually beneficial cooperation in various sectors for the benefit of the two nations.”
“The dynamic of the development of bilateral relations between China and Armenia is currently maintained. China and Armenia support each other in issues of key interests for the two countries, cooperation within the framework of joint construction of the One Belt One Road Initiative is also stably developing, significant achievements are recorded in the joint fight against the coronavirus pandemic,” Xi wrote.
China remains Georgia’s third trading partner
In January-August 2021, China was Georgia’s third trading partner – the turnover amounted to $941.3 million (10.8% of the total turnover), Geostat reported on September 20.
China was Georgia’s top trading partner by exports with $421.8 million which was 16.2% of Georgia’s total exports and amounted to a growth of 41.8% compared to the same period of 2020.
During January-August 2021, China was Georgia’s third-largest partner by import with $519.4 million that was 8.6% of total imports. Compared to the same period of 2020, it was a growth of 17.8%.
MOU signed between Guangdong trade committee and BRI Georgian Business House
The signing ceremony of MOU. Source: The Georgia’s Embassy in China
On September 24, Guangdong International Business Opportunities Promotion Conference – „Explore Georgia“ was held in Guangzhou as part of the 21st Century International Silk Road International Expo. The event was organized by the Embassy of Georgia in China and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Guangdong Committee.
According to the Georgian Embassy report, the Ambassador of Georgia Archil Kalandia made a presentation about the business, investment environment and tourism opportunities in Georgia. He stressed the importance of intensifying trade and economic cooperation between Georgia and “the leading Chinese province”.
China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Guangdong Committee President Fang Lixu expressed the growing interest of the Chinese side in the import of Georgian products and readiness to work in a coordinated manner with the Embassy.
At the end of the conference, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade Guangdong Committee and Belt and Road Georgian Business House.
Confucius Institute in Azerbaijan held a lecture about Heroic Chapters of Chinese History
On September 3, during the summer online lecture activity of the Confucius Institute at Azerbaijan University of Languages, Rafiq Abbasov, the Director of the Confucius Institute, gave a lecture entitled Heroic Chapters of Chinese History, Azertac reported on September 20.
Chinese-Armenian Friendship School: We need to make sure students develop Chinese-Armenian relations
Photo from the meeting. Source: News.am
On September 24, the Embassy of China in Armenia hosted the meeting of the Chinese Ambassador to Armenia Fan Yong with the students of the Chinese-Armenian Friendship School and professors of the Confucius Institute at Yerevan Brusov State University of Languages and Social Sciences.
Principal of the Chinese-Armenian Friendship School Spartak Vardanyan thanked the Ambassador for the invitation and said it was the students’ honour to meet with the Ambassador:
“We need to do everything we can to make sure our pupils contribute to the development of relations between Armenia and China. We express our gratitude to you for your attention and support”.
The Chinese Ambassador said that students were contributing to the rapprochement of Armenia and China by studying Chinese culture.
According to the News.am report, in honour of the Establishment Day of China (October 1), the students performed Chinese and Russian songs, and the professors of the Confucius Institute performed Chinese national music and dances.
Chinese officials visited Georgian pavilion in Guangzhou
Leung Chun-ying and Archil Kalandia. Source: The Belt and Road Georgian Business House
The pavilion of Georgia at the Maritime Silk Road International Expo 2021 was presented by the Belt and Road Georgian Business House. The event was held in Guangzhou, China on September 24-26.
At the official opening of the Expo, the Ambassador of Georgia to China Archil Kalandia, Vice-Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference Leung Chun-ying, representatives of consulates of various countries and local government officials in Guangzhou visited the Georgian pavilion.
Online conference devoted to the Chinese version of “Heydar Aliyev and China” was held in Azerbaijan
Book cover. Source: Azertac
On August 2, at the Azerbaijan University of Languages, the Director of the Confucius Institute Rafiq Abbasov held an online conference about the Chinese version of the book “Heydar Aliyev and China”, Azertac reported on September 20.
In his speech, Abbasov talked about “the successful development achievements of multilateral cooperation” between the New Azerbaijan Party and the CCP.
Confucius Institute in Azerbaijan held a lecture about Chinese Oil History
Photo from the online lecture. Source: Azertac
On September 16, as part of the summer online lectures, the Director of the Confucius Institute at Azerbaijan University Languages, Rafiq Abbasov, gave a lecture about Chinese Oil History to commemorate Azerbaijan Oil Workers Day, Azertac reported on September 20.
27.9.2021 – 3.10.2021
Georgian Deputy Prime Minister, officials and others celebrate PRC’s Establishment Day
Website screenshot. Source: cn.ge
To celebrate the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the Chinese Embassy in Georgia created a special website. On the website, there are 21 videos in which Georgia’s high-ranking government officials, Chinese Ambassador to Georgia, Georgia’s Ambassador to China, representatives of educational institutions associated with China, representatives of a Georgian think-tank and other organizations, and Chinese workers employed in different infrastructure projects in Georgia took part.
The Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia David Zalkaliani addressed the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, the Chinese Ambassador to Georgia Li Yan, the Chinese government and Chinese people and congratulated them on the National Day of PRC.
Zalkaliani said that Georgia especially appreciated the friendly and partnership relations established with China, and unwaveringly adhered to the principle of “One China”.
David Zalkaliani also stressed that the two countries had significant cooperation within international organizations: “Georgia and China actively support each other in international organizations and always take [that] into account on various issues.”
The Deputy PM said that the number of Chinese visitors to Georgia was growing as well as the number of people interested in the Chinese language and culture, and noted that the functioning of the Confucius Institutes and other educational centres helped this dynamic.
Zalkaliani also said that Georgia actively cooperated with China within the BRI, which was “an opportunity for new infrastructure and economic cooperation for both countries”. The Deputy PM expressed hope that more specific projects would be implemented in the near future. At the end of his speech, he expressed gratitude towards the Chinese government for the pandemic assistance.
The Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection and Agriculture Nino Tandilashvili said that throughout the years, the PRC has been a very important partner of Georgia. According to Tandilashvili, the contribution of the PRC to the development of Georgia’s agriculture is especially important, and the two countries have “very good cooperation” in the fields of scientific research, training of Georgian specialists and others.
The Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Genadi Arveladze said that in the 29 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, relations between Georgia and the People’s Republic of China have been developing dynamically in many directions, “especially in recent years”.
“We have quite good and close cooperation with China in different directions – in the field of economy, trade, education and culture” – said 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.
CEO of Georgia’s Partnership Fund, a ruling Georgian Dream party member and the Co-Chairman of the Georgia-China Joint Intergovernmental Commission on Economy and Trade David Saganelidze also contributed to the congratulatory and praising speeches by saying that China has become one of the most powerful, stable and advanced countries, which today was already actively trying to influence global prosperity and making a significant contribution to the development of other countries in the world.
“Homeland of the historic Silk Road and the initiator of the new Belt and Road Initiative, its leader, Mr Xi Jinping, through well-defined and global reforms and policies, are helping to create even more advanced infrastructure for the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa that is a prerequisite for overall economic prosperity. Georgia, as a country of the historic Silk Road, is an important part of the great project called BRI,” said Saganelidze.
An adviser to the Georgian Minister of Agriculture and the Director of the Research Institute of China Studies at the Georgian Technical University Jemal Putkaradze said that China’s success has been achieved by the Chinese people as a result of the very wise leadership of the Communist Party of China. He also said that he personally had a very close partnership and every year or twice a year was visiting China.
The Chinese Ambassador to Georgia Li Yan said in a video speech that China was ready to continue to develop bilateral relations “based on mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit” with the Georgian side, and high-level cooperation within the BRI.
The Georgian Ambassador to China Archil Kalandia said that the bilateral and multilateral relations between Georgia and China were developing intensively. He underlined that it was especially important for Georgia to be even more actively involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.
The Georgian Strategic Analysis Center (GSAC) also took part in the series of video speeches dedicated to celebrating the National Day of the PRC. On behalf of the GSAC, one of its founders Nodar Kharshiladze congratulated the PRC on its 72nd anniversary. “We wish them success, development, prosperity…” Kharshiladze said. He also took the opportunity to thank the Chinese people and the Chinese government for their assistance to Georgia: “We express hope that already exemplary cooperation between our countries will be further enhanced in the future”.
President of Media Holding Georgian Times Malkhaz Gulashvili also congratulated the PRC on its Establishment Day and said he was sure that in the near future China would become one of the leading countries in the world, “if not the only one”. While remembering China and its people’s “friendly relations” he said that he had a lot of friends in China, including government officials.
The President of the Georgia-China Cultural Center Silk Road Liu-Kandareli Kuangwen said in the imagination of Georgians, China has always been a peaceful, people-oriented country with a great civilization.
Director of the multimedia group FORYOU Mikheil Tarakhchevi, the Director of the Confucius Institute at the Free University of Tbilisi and the President of the Georgian Association of Sinologists Marine Jibladze, the President of the Georgian National Wushu Federation Giorgi Verulidze, the Secretary-General of the Chamber of Commerce of Chinese Companies in Georgia Yu Hua also joined the online celebration.
Armenia’s President Sarkissian paid a visit to the Chinese Embassy on the anniversary of PRC
Armen Sarkissian and Fan Yong. Source: News.am
On October 1, Armenia’s President Armen Sarkissian visited the Chinese Embassy in Yerevan on the occasion of the anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.
“I am here to express my respect and friendship to the people of China. Armenia highly values relations with China,” Sarkissian said.
According to the News.am report, Sarkissian and the Ambassador reflected on the agenda of Armenian-Chinese relations, spoke about the avenues for deepening cooperation and “underscored the intensification of contacts and closer ties between the two peoples.”
Aliyev congratulated Xi the National Day of PRC
On the Establishment Day of the People’s Republic of China, the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev sent a congratulatory letter to the Chairman of CCP Xi Jinping.
Aliyev wrote that for Azerbaijan, China was a reliable partner and a friendly country, and noted that supporting one another by demonstrating “mutual trust and solidarity” throughout the Covid-19 pandemic had been a vivid manifestation of their “solid friendly” relations. “Involvement of the Chinese companies in the restoration and reconstruction of the East Zangezur and Karabakh economic regions, ample results achieved in transportation, logistics, infrastructure, investment, energy and other areas, and prospects, signify the high level of Azerbaijan-China partnership,” he added.
The President of Azerbaijan expressed confidence that cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative would successfully continue.
“The enormous transnational cooperation platform, the Belt and Road, that came to fruition upon your initiative advances expansion of economic and trade relations in the Eurasian space,” added President Aliyev.
Georgia’s Minister of Finance and Chinese Ambassador discussed Chinese-funded projects
Georgia’s Minister of Finance Lasha Khutsishvili met with the Chinese Ambassador Li Yan, Interpressnews reported on September 30.
The conversation touched upon the implemented and the ongoing projects that were supported by grants or technical support by the PRC government. Relations and partnerships in the regional context of trade and economic sphere, especially in the framework of the BRI, were underlined.
“At the meeting, the parties discussed the projects implemented with the support of the Chinese government in the Revenue Service of the Ministry of Finance. The Chinese side reaffirmed its readiness to continue to support cooperation in the country’s priority sectors,” the statement added.
The Chinese Embassy in Armenia, Armenian politicians celebrate the PRC’s National Day
The Chinese Embassy in Armenia held an online celebration on the 72nd anniversary of the establishment of the PRC.
The Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Armenia Hakob Arshakyan said that China was an important partner and Armenia attached great importance to the development of mutually beneficial cooperation with China. According to him, participating in the joint construction of the BRI provided major opportunities for Armenia-China cooperation in transportation, investment and finance fields.
“The Armenian side is willing to strengthen cooperation between the legislative institutions of the two countries and make positive contributions to deepening bilateral relations,” he added.
The Chairman of the Republican Party of Armenia and the third president of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan also congratulated the PRC on National Day. He praised China’s development achievements and growing international influence and expressed confidence that the CCP would continue to unite and “lead the Chinese people on the road to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”.
Narek Mkrtchyan, the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia and others also took part in the celebration.
Guangzhou’s Nansha district establishes friendly ties with Baku’s district
On September 28, Nansha district in Guangzhou, China and Khazar district in Baku, Azerbaijan signed an agreement on making Khazar district a friendly district of Nansha.
The Azerbaijani Ambassador to China Akram Zeynalli expressed hope that the communication between governments and people can be promoted and more cooperation in areas of economy, trade, culture and tourism can be carried out.
According to the Chinese media, the Nansha port area is expected to achieve a direct connection with the China-Europe freight trains after the completion of the Nansha Port Railway project. Nansha is in the centre of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and has been involved in several national development strategies, the report said.
Pashinyan congratulates Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang on the National Day of PRC
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan sent a congratulatory letter to the Chairman of CCP Xi Jinping and the Premier of the State Council of China Li Keqiang on the occasion of the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
“Armenian-Chinese friendly relations, based on traditional close ties, mutual respect and trust, have developed steadily and strengthened since the establishment of diplomatic relations. As an important player in international relations, China contributes to the global development agenda and is one of Armenia’s primary partners,” Armenian PM wrote to Xi.
He expressed hope that due to joint efforts the Armenian-Chinese cooperation would gradually deepen and expand.
The Armenian PM wrote in a congratulatory letter to LI Keqiang that the two countries were united by the positive experience of working together and cooperating on international platforms.
He once again thanked China for the Covid-19 assistance.
According to the Armenian PM, even in the face of epidemic-related restrictions, there had been a significant increase in bilateral trade, which indicated “that the Armenian-Chinese relations have great potential for further development”.
Pashinyan said he was ready to work with Li Keqiang to raise the Armenian-Chinese relations to a “qualitatively new level, to reach new horizons of cooperation”.
Sarkissian to Xi Jinping: Armenia attaches great importance to cooperation with China
On October 1, Armenian President Armen Sarkissian congratulated the Chairman of CCP Xi Jinping on the occasion of the 72nd anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.
He wrote that Armenia attached great importance to the “consistent and sustainable” development of cooperation with China.
According to Sarkissian, despite the difficulties caused by the pandemic, he believed that they would show “a firm will” to implement joint programs and initiatives.
He expressed hope that Armenia-China relations would continue to develop and expand.
Georgian Ambassador to China says BRI is fully in line with Georgia’s aspirations to become a hub
Georgian Ambassador to China Archil Kalandia published an article in Georgian newspaper Kviris Palitra’s September 27 – October 3 edition, entitled “China and China-Georgia relations through my eyes – the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the CCP”.
Kalandia wrote that Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative was fully in line with Georgia’s aspirations to become a transport, transit, trade and logistical hub between the West and the East, and, in this sense, Georgia paid great attention to be included in BRI.
Kalandia also added that from the BRI Georgia expected to develop more multisectoral close relationships with China “in all possible directions”.
According to Kalandia, the interaction between Georgia and China is quite high in many formats, including coordination of activities in the UN, the WHO and other international organizations.
Azerbaijani MFA congratulated China on its National Day
On October 1, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan congratulated the People’s Republic of China on its establishment day.
“We express our warmest congratulations to the People’s Republic of China on the occasion of the National Day. We wish prosperity and peace to the friendly people and the Government of China. Happy National Day, China!” MFA wrote.
China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research ready to contribute to developing Armenia-China relations
On the occasion of the 72nd anniversary of the foundation of the PRC, the Director of Armenia’s China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research Mher Sahakyan congratulated the Chinese Ambassador to Armenia Fan Yong and the Chinese Embassy team.
He praised the CCP, saying that under their leadership, the country was “now the second strongest and biggest economy of the world”, and also praising their “achievements” in the fields of technologies, education, science, and production.
“It is a role model for many developing countries. I am sure that China will continue its rise, which will bring its people prosperity and happiness,” he wrote.
He continued by saying that on the international level, China was one of the responsible great powers – “it contributes to healthcare, economy, peacekeeping operations and education, therefore the peaceful rise of China is important for the shared future of mankind, proposed by President Xi Jinping”.
Sahakyan added that the China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research highly valued cooperation with the Ambassador and the Embassy.
He wrote that they would do their best to strengthen their ties and contribute to developing relations between Armenia and China.
The Chinese Ambassador: Broad development prospects are opening for China-Azerbaijan relations
On the occasion of the 72nd anniversary of the establishment of the PRC, the Chinese Ambassador to Azerbaijan Guo Min published an article entitled “Taking a new path to achieve new development”. The article was published by Azertac on September 29.
After discussing the PRC and the CCP, the Ambassador also wrote about the China-Azerbaijan relations.
Guo Min wrote that in 2022 the two countries will be celebrating the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. According to her, broad development prospects are opening in their relations and the friendship between them is becoming stronger.
“We are ready to work in a spirit of solidarity and cooperation with all countries of the world, including Azerbaijan, to build a new type of international relations, based on mutual respect, justice, impartiality and mutually beneficial cooperation, expand the sphere of common interests and significantly increase interaction scale,” the Ambassador added.
Another 1 million doses of Sinopharm arrived in Georgia
One million doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine arrived in Georgia, Interpressnews reported on October 1.
Armenian scholar writes opinion piece about potential China-Armenia cooperation within Digital Silk Road
On September 26, the Chairman of the Center for Political and Economic Strategic Studies in Yerevan, Benyamin Poghosyan, published an article on ChinaNews entitled “Digital Silk Road cements China-Armenia bonds”.
He wrote the BRI was to offer a new paradigm for “mutually beneficial cooperation between participating countries based on a people-centric approach and the revolutionary idea of building a community with a shared future for humanity”.
While discussing China’s Digital Silk Road he wrote that Armenia, “as one of the world’s ancient civilizations”, played a “vital role in the functioning of the ancient Silk Road”. He added that Armenia had regained its status as the IT and digital hub in the region.
Poghosyan stressed that Armenia welcomed the Belt and Road Initiative and that the Digital Silk Road program may take on a vital role in boosting economic cooperation.
“The developing IT sector in Armenia requires quick deployment of 5G networks, which will allow for the rapid growth of the Internet of Things. Chinese companies such as Huawei may play a primary part here. The land borders with Georgia and Iran make Armenia a favourable data transit country to connect Europe with the Middle East, and Central and Southeast Asia,” Poghosyan wrote.
He suggested that Armenian IT companies could act as a bridge for Western companies to enter the Chinese market:
“With one branch already operating in Xi’an, capital of China’s Shaanxi Province, the Digital Silk Road Center opened in the second largest city of Armenia, Gyumri, in May, lifting Armenia-China IT cooperation”.
Poghosyan also suggested a Russian market for Chinese IT companies through investing and producing in Armenia:
“Its 2015 accession to the Eurasian Economic Union provides Armenia with tariff-free access to the vast Russian market, while the Generalized System of Preferences+ allows Armenia to export products to the EU with zero customs duty. This combination creates yet another opportunity for Chinese IT companies to invest and produce in Armenia and later export to the aforementioned markets”.
“We will set sails and will continue to move towards brilliant success” – Chinese Ambassador to Georgia publishes another article
On October 1, the Chinese Ambassador to Georgia Li Yan published an article on the Georgian Times website entitled “We will set sails and will continue to move towards brilliant success”.
Li Yan discussed the 72nd anniversary of PRC’s establishment, praised its past, and its epidemic policies. She wrote that China followed the creation of a “community of common health for mankind”
On the Georgia-China partnership, she wrote that political mutual trust was continually growing while pragmatic cooperation towards BRI and in other fields was deepening.
Armenian scholar comments on US’s withdrawal from Afghanistan for Chinese State media
The Chairman of the Center for Political and Economic Strategic Studies in Yerevan, Benyamin Poghosyan, once again commented for prominent Chinese state media, this time about Afghanistan and the US withdrawal, China Daily reported on September 27.
“After 20 years of occupation, the United States left Afghanistan,” he said adding that the US decision to leave Afghanistan was “another proof of the failure of the US democracy promotion and state and nation-building policy”.
Poghosyan also said that the US withdrawal was “another proof” of the end of “the US total hegemony”.