|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 175th out of 180 countries)
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Li Keqiang wants to deepen China-Georgia cooperation within the BRI
On May 26, the Independence Day of Georgia, in a letter addressed to Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, the Premier of the State Council of China Li Keqiang, congratulated the Government of Georgia on Georgia’s Independence Day on behalf of the Government of China.
“It is my desire to deepen our cooperation with you in the framework of the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, which is increasingly important for the relations and friendship between China and Georgia, and will bring even more benefits to our countries and nations in the future,” he wrote.
According to the Interpressnews report, Li Keqiang stressed the “positive” dynamics of the development of China-Georgia relations and noted that the mutually beneficial cooperation was developing “steadily”.
Xi Jinping says that China-Azerbaijan mutual activity in the international arena is becoming stronger
On the occasion of the Independence Day of the Republic of Azerbaijan, on May 28, the Chairman of CCP Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, APA reported.
“Currently, Chinese-Azerbaijani relations are developing healthily and stably,” wrote the Chinese leader noting that mutual political trust between the two countries was deepening, cooperation over the Belt and Road Initiative was actively developing, and mutual activity in the international arena was becoming stronger.
“I attach special importance to the development of Chinese-Azerbaijani relations. In connection with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, I am ready to make joint efforts with you to further develop bilateral friendly and cooperative relations at a new level for the benefit of our countries and peoples,” Xi Jinping wrote.
The Embassy of China is starting a project to develop relations with Armenian provinces
A photo from the meeting. Source: Armenpress
The Embassy of China in Armenia is starting a new project aimed at “contributing to the development and progress of provinces” in education, tourism, trade and business fields, Armenpress reported on May 23. The new project will start from Aragatsotn province but the Ambassador of China to Armenia Fan Yong said that they wanted to develop relations with other provinces of Armenia as well.
According to Fan Yong, the Chinese side also wanted to present China to the Armenian people more, by translating books and holding several events “so that the Armenian people recognize and show more interest in China”.
The Chinese side also plans to talk to the Confucius Institute, and present their visit to the Basic School N1 of Ashtarak for them “to cooperate and develop the field of education in Aragatsotn province”.
Governor of Aragatsotn province Sergey Movsisyan said that the cooperation proposal had been presented by the Embassy of China, and was accepted “with pleasure”.
“Our meeting today was very productive, and I hope that it will be a beginning to our cooperation in a number of areas… We agreed to meet again and more substantively discuss in what format introduce the teaching of Chinese in our schools. We also plan to hold China Days in Aragatsotn province. We also reached an agreement on the cooperation in the business field”, the Governor said.
The fourth Tbilisi Belt and Road Forum is to be held, Georgian Ambassador to China announces
Archil Kalandia. Source: China.org.cn/Screenshot
On May 26, Georgia’s Ambassador to China Archil Kalandia gave an interview to the Chinese state-run web portal China.org.cn.
During the interview, Kalandia announced that this year they were planning to organize the Tbilisi Belt and Road Forum – “where [with] our partners, and our friends from China as well, we would like to present them the venue in Georgia to discuss the issues, to discuss the possible projects under the Belt and Road Global Initiative in Georgia”. He added that Georgia was the only country, outside of China, to organize the Belt and Road Forum. “By the initiative of the Prime Minister of Georgia, we established the Tbilisi Belt and Road Forum in 2015. And we have held three forums, in 2015, 2017, and 2019”. It is noteworthy, that in 2015 Georgia’s PM was Irakli Garibashvili who was re-appointed as the PM of Georgia in 2021 and still continues to be the head of government of Georgia.
According to Ambassador, Georgia is actively involved in the Belt and Road Initiative – “Georgia is positioning itself as a transit and trade hub in the region. And in this regard, it is very important to play a more efficient role in this global initiative”.
He also noted that they were working very actively with their Chinese colleagues, with NDRC (China’s National Development and Reform Commission), to strengthen and deepen their cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.
The journalist told Kalandia that there were “some misunderstandings” from “some countries” of this initiative and asked the Ambassador how he viewed the BRI and what it had brought to Georgia, China and Eurasia. The Ambassador answered the following:
“Any kind of cooperation brings stability and brings peace. And the Georgian people, we know the value of peace. And it is very important for us to be involved in regional and global projects, in regional and global economic projects. So that’s why the Belt and Road Initiative is crucially important for us to utilize our transport, transit, and logistic potential. So, any kind of cooperation brings success, brings peace, stability and opportunities for a new generation to live and work in modern society, and to receive a good education in the civilized world to reach and gain more targets. So that’s why BRI gives peace, stability and development”.
On other topics, he also said that China and Georgia still had a huge opportunity to deepen and strengthen cooperation. In this regard, he mentioned the tourism sector, cultural issues and the educational sphere:
“We are working very actively with the Ministry of Education of China to increase scholarship for Georgian students”. He hopes that more Georgians will have the opportunity to study professions in China and “learn about innovations, high technology…”
During the interview, Archil Kalandia also said that “socialism with Chinese characteristics” had proved “its concrete results” and “China became a country of global importance”. He said that reforms and opening-up policy gave Chinese people more opportunity to develop and to receive and reach concrete results.”Many countries should learn from China,” the Ambassador stressed.
Huawei Armenia hosted its 2nd season of Seeds for the Future Program
Fan Yong, Narek Teryan, Eliz Gevorgyan. Source: Armenpress
From May 23 to May 30, Huawei Armenia hosted its 2nd season of Seeds for the Future Program, Armenpress reported. With the Yerevan State University and the Yerevan National Polytechnics University, Huawei was collaborating in the student selection process.
The General Manager of Huawei Technologies Armenia, Chen Liang, stressed that Huawei was committed to promoting Armenia’s ICT industry for “long-term sustainable economic, social, and environmental development”.
“They will also learn about Huawei’s global business operations, cross-cultural work practices, and Chinese culture… Let us continue the friendship, promote cooperation, jointly write a brighter future for the good relations between Armenia and China, and work together to build a community with a shared future for mankind”.
Chinese Ambassador to Armenia Fan Yong said that while the President of Armenia Vahagn Khachaturyan was visiting the Chinese Embassy to celebrate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries, he mentioned that Armenia attached great importance to the development of ICT industries, and wanted to learn from China, strengthen the cooperation with China and take the talents in advantages of Armenia in the ICT industry.
The Deputy Minister of Economy of Armenia Narek Teryan noted that he believed the program would bring a great opportunity for the talented Armenian students to strengthen their knowledge and skills “in 5G, Clouds and IT fields”.
“On one hand, this experience will emphasize the importance of friendly relations between Armenia and China and on the other hand it will support Armenian digital development as the program is a great platform for communication and information exchange with cutting-edge technologies.”
The Head of the European Union and International Organizations Division, Ministry of High-Tech Industry of Armenia, Eliz Gevorgyan said that it was a unique bridge for intercultural communication between Armenia and China.
Chinese state media continues targeting Georgia’s democratic revolution
On May 28, the Chinese state media outlet China News once again targeted Georgia’s democratic Rose Revolution of 2003. The material claimed:
“Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the ‘Rose Revolution’ in Georgia, the ‘Orange Revolution’ in Ukraine and the ‘Arab Spring’, NED’s [National Endowment for Democracy] silhouette can be seen behind a series of ‘color revolutions’ instigated and planned by the United States. This has long been a well-known ‘disclosed secret'”.
TRACECA predicts that China-Europe cargo transportation through Azerbaijan will grow 3-5 times
According to the National Secretary of the Permanent Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Commission Transport Corridor Europe-Caucasus-Asia (TRACECA) in Azerbaijan, Rufat Bayramov, TRACECA predicts that in “the current geopolitical situation”, container cargo transportation from China to Europe and back through the territory of Azerbaijan will grow three to five times in 2022 compared to previous years, Trend reported
A photo from the event. Source: Twitter/MFA Azerbaijan
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Bayramov addressed the official reception dedicated to the inauguration of the new building of the Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in Beijing, Azerbaijani MFA reported on May 27.
Armenian scholar published a pro-Beijing article in Chinese media
On May 26, the chairman of the Center for Political and Economic Strategic Studies in Yerevan, Benyamin Poghosyan, published a pro-Beijing and anti-Western article in the Chinese state media outlet China Daily, in which along with other topics he tried to whitewash China’s genocidal policies.
“Over the past two decades, some Western countries, led by the US and the UK, have launched campaigns against China, accusing it of violating human rights in Xinjiang and, using that as an excuse, imposed various sanctions on the country,” he wrote claiming that “the objective reality” in Xinjiang was “totally different from the ‘horror’ scenario that the US media has tried to paint because the central government has invested billions of dollars in Xinjiang to boost the region’s economy and raise the living standards of the local population”.
He noted that “no country was perfect”, and there were ways to improve a country’s domestic and foreign policies, including human rights protection, where he noted that this did not apply to China alone, but also “to all the countries including the US, the UK and Russia”.
Poghosyan also noted that “US attempts to contain China and convince other Asia-Pacific countries to act against China” would have “a negative impact on regional and global security dynamics and undermine the possibility of joint action to deal with shared challenges”.
He wrote that “a community with a shared future for mankind” was an “expression of China’s vision to solve the daunting problems faced by humankind through win-win cooperation”.
On other topics, Poghosyan also wrote positively about China’s Belt and Road Initiative and claimed that “China has made clear its goal of pursuing win-win cooperation with other powers, in order to boost economic global recovery and restore stability amid the economic turmoil and geopolitical tensions worldwide”.
The Chinese Olympiad contest was held in Armenia
On May 25, the Chinese Ambassador to Armenia Fan Yong attended and delivered a speech at the awarding ceremony of the first Armenian universities’ Chinese Olympiad contest held at the Brusov State University in Armenia.
According to the Chinese Embassy in Armenia, it is hoped that the competition “will encourage more young Armenian students to learn Chinese, understand Chinese culture and continue to contribute to the cause of friendship between the two countries”.
An event was held to celebrate Azerbaijan-China diplomatic relations
On May 27, the award ceremony for the collection of paintings to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Azerbaijan and the exhibition tour’s launching ceremony was held at the Azerbaijan state news agency office, the Chinese Embassy in Azerbaijan reported.