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)
- In the UN, China votes against Georgia on a resolution on the status of internally displaced persons and refugees from the Russian-occupied Georgian regions
- China and Georgia seek to sign a BRI cooperation action plan
- Armenian High-Tech Minister and Chinese Ambassador discuss developing cooperation in the field of high-tech
- Xi Jinping attaches great importance to the development of China-Georgia ties
- The BRI is strongly in line with Georgia’s development strategy, Chinese Ambassador says
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In the UN, China votes against a resolution on the status of internally displaced persons and refugees from the Russian-occupied Georgian regions
The resolution document. Source: LithuaniaUN/Twitter
The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on the status of internally displaced persons and refugees from the Russia-occupied Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions of Georgia, Agenda reported on June 9. In the document published by the Permanent Mission of Lithuania to the United Nations in New York, China is among twelve countries that voted against the resolution. Together with China, Russia, Belarus, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Laos, Burundi, Nicaragua, Sudan, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe also voted against the resolution.
China and Georgia have enhanced political trust continuously, Li Keqiang says
On the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Georgia, the Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, Li Keqiang sent a congratulatory letter to Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, the Georgian government reported on June 6.
“The two sides have enhanced political trust continuously, made solid progress in pragmatic cooperation in various fields, with people-to-people and cultural exchanges increasingly strengthened,” Li wrote.
According to Li Keqiang, over the past 30 years, China-Georgia relations have maintained “sound and steady development”.
“I would like to work together with you and take the 30th anniversary of our diplomatic ties as an opportunity to continue to deepen our cooperation of mutual benefit in various fields, enrich the connotation of China-Georgia relations and friendship and benefit our two countries and people,” Li addressed Garibashvili.
China and Georgia seek to sign a BRI cooperation action plan
A photo from the online event. Source: Chinese Embassy in Georgia/Screenshot
On June 9, the Chinese Embassy in Georgia held an online event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Georgia and China.
“I am glad that our countries have managed to form exemplary strong and common interests-based connections,” the Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili said in a video speech. He said that the dynamics of high-level contact and visits between Georgia and China were very positive and expressed his personal desire to visit China in the near future and “thus contribute to the deepening of cooperation between our countries”. He also invited his Chinese colleague, Li Keqiang to Georgia. Also, while discussing cooperation during the pandemic he once again expressed gratitude to the Chinese government.
“I believe that Georgia and China have a lot of success ahead, I once again reaffirm my readiness to take the existing friendship and partnership between the two countries to a qualitatively new level,” Garibashvili added.
Chinese Ambassador to Georgia Zhou Qian stated that “political mutual trust” between China and Georgia was constantly growing, high-level contacts between the two countries were becoming more frequent and cooperation between China and Georgia under “the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative with the leadership of the two countries’ heads yielded fruitful results”. He noted that there was a huge potential for cooperation in investments, transport, infrastructure, high technologies, and other fields.
In his speech, the Ambassador said that firstly, the two countries must continue to strongly support each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and strengthen high-level contacts and political mutual trust. “Second, we must continue to develop high-quality business cooperation within the BRI, while finding new areas of cooperation and growth factors for greater cooperation and friendship between the two nations,” he said.
He added that recently, Xi Jinping launched the Global Security Initiative, “introducing a Chinese model for solving these important problems. Against the background of unprecedented changes over the last hundred years, China is ready to work actively with Georgia to strongly advocate for global and regional peace and development and to promote the formation of a society with a community of shared future for mankind”.
The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia Alexander Khvtisiashvili said that the relations between the two countries were developing “quite positively at the level of different government structures and agencies”, and there was also strong cooperation at the level of parliaments. He also thanked China for cooperation during the pandemic.
Khvtisiashvili also said that in the framework of the anniversary of diplomatic relations, it was planned to sign an action plan on the BRI cooperation between Georgia and China.
The Deputy Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia Genadi Arveladze stated that China was a trusted and valued partner for Georgia.
“We have demonstrated significant progress in numerous directions and we see many more opportunities ahead and particularly in the context of the outstanding Belt and Road Initiative proposed by the President of China Mr. Xi Jinping,” Arveladze said.
On the planned signing of an action plan on the BRI cooperation he also said the following: “Currently we are working closely with our Chinese counterparts and I believe that in the near future we will be able to sign the bilateral cooperation action plan between the government of Georgia and the government of the PRC under the framework of the BRI, which is a truly comprehensive plan outlining our key priorities for cooperation and specific actions, countries are willing to undertake these matters”.
“I am proud that the relations between Georgia and China have been developing progressively in all areas for 30 years and today, we see that both countries attach great importance to bilateral relations and strategic partnership,” The Executive Director of the Partnership Fund of Georgia David Saganelidze said.
He noted that from the Georgian side, he was directly leading the draft plan of bilateral cooperation between the Government of Georgia and the Government of the People’s Republic of China in the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, together with the Development and Reform Commission of China.
“Today, the whole world is facing a new reality, the Russo-Ukrainian war posed new challenges to commonwealth countries. Against the background of all this, the geopolitics is changing and a new stage is beginning for the Georgia-China relations, for which we need to prepare and make joint efforts. It is important for us to further develop priority and strategic areas, such as infrastructure, energy, and manufacturing, in which we have high hopes that Chinese partners will be actively involved,” Saganelidze added.
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 also talked about the two countries’ cooperation and relations in the education field. He also added the following:
“I would like to personally convey to the Ambassador the wish of the Chairman of our ruling party, the leader of the majority in the New Georgian Parliament, Mr. Irakli Kobakhidze, to make high-level political party visits to China and Georgia, and we are ready for that. It will be good if in the near future we will start working on these issues together with you Mr. Ambassador”.
The President of the Georgia-China Cultural Center Silk Road Liu-Kandareli Kuangwen, the Director of the Confucius Institute at the Free University of Tbilisi and the President of the Georgian Association of Sinologists Marine Jibladze also took part in the online event.
“During these 30 years, China’s unwavering stance on Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity should be noted, as well as the fact that today, China is Georgia’s strategic partner,” Jibladze said.
The President of Media Holding Georgian Times Malkhaz Gulashvili talked about the need to strengthen China-Georgia relations and the Director of the multimedia group FORYOU Mikheil Tarakhchevi spoke positively about China-Georgia relations.
“On our part, we are ready to be involved in the creation of a platform of regional importance, which will unite the media of the Black Sea region and China,” Tarakhchevi proposed during his speech.
The Founder of Free School Avtandil Kiknadze also took part in a congratulatory video, while the Vice-Rector of the Free University Marina Karchava noted that a number of successful projects had been implemented together with Chinese partner universities within the Confucius Institute of the Tbilisi Free University. Students, the Confucius Institute of the Alte University, the Confucius Institute of the Tbilisi Free University, the Confucius class of Kutaisi University representatives, and others also took part in a congratulatory video.
Armenian High-Tech Minister and Chinese Ambassador discuss developing cooperation in the field of high-tech
Fan Yong and Robert Khachatryan. Source: The Ministry of High-Tech Industry of Armenia
On June 6, the Armenian Minister of High-Tech Industry Robert Khachatryan received the delegation led by the Chinese Ambassador to Armenia Fan Yong, the Armenian Ministry reported.
Reportedly, Robert Khachatryan emphasized the stable and consistent development of cooperation between the two countries. The Minister said that there still was an unrealized potential for cooperation in the fields of high technologies and digitalization, in the direction of which it was “necessary to take steps and more effectively use the emerging opportunities”.
The Chinese Ambassador expressed hope that sectoral cooperation between the two countries would continue. Fan Yong said that the relations based on “the effective and dynamic cooperation of the past years will continue to strengthen and deepen”.
According to the report, the parties also discussed the prospects for developing cooperation in the space industry, microelectronics, radio electronics, and a number of other industries.
Emphasizing the implementation of joint programs, the Minister and the Ambassador discussed the possibilities of implementing educational programs in the field of innovation, technology, and entrepreneurship.
The two sides agreed to exchange information on issues of mutual interest in order to organize broader discussions in the future and develop cooperation with new content and vision.
Xi Jinping attaches great importance to the development of China-Georgia ties
Xi Jinping, Salome Zurabishvili. Source: CCTV
On June 9, the CCP Chairman Xi Jinping and Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili exchanged congratulatory messages on the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Georgia, Chinese state media outlet reported.
Xi said he attached great importance to the development of China-Georgia relations and was ready to make joint efforts with the Georgian president to advance “fruitful cooperation in various fields to benefit people in both countries”.
Reportedly, Xi described the two countries as cooperation partners with traditional friendship and noted that China and Georgia “promoted cooperation in various fields with concrete efforts and engaged in effective communication and coordination in international affairs during the past 30 years, achieving healthy and steady development of bilateral relations”. He also “hailed the mutual support and solidarity” between the people in the two countries in the fight against Covid-19.
Zurabishvili said Georgia was committed to developing friendly relations with China and stood ready to work with China to deepen “mutually beneficial cooperation and promote prosperity” in both countries.
The BRI is strongly in line with Georgia’s development strategy, Chinese Ambassador says
Zhou Qian. Source: Georgian Times/Chinese Embassy in Georgia
On June 9, Georgian Times published an article by the newly appointed Ambassador of China to Georgia Zhou Qian, the Chinese Embassy in Georgia reported.
On China-Georgia relations the Ambassador said that bilateral relations were developing steadily and healthily, and cooperation in various fields was constantly deepening.
Zhou Qian stated that the CCP Chairman Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road Initiative was “strongly” in line with Georgia’s development strategy to become a logistics and transport hub in Eurasia: “Within the BRI, China-Georgia cooperation is rapidly growing”. The Ambassador wrote that the two countries had “great cooperation prospects” in investment, communications, high technology, and other fields.
He wrote that through the joint efforts of the governments and peoples of the two countries, the political trust between China and Georgia was deepening day by day. “China and Georgia are cooperating in the international arena, together they are defending the international system at the core of which is the United Nations, and actively contributing to world peace and stability,” Zhou Qian noted.
While discussing China-Georgia cooperation during the Covid-19 pandemic, he added that the two countries were fighting difficulties together and cooperating together to create a “community of common health”.
“We are at a new starting point in history,” Zhou Qian wrote and expressed the readiness of the Chinese side to continue the work “started by its predecessors” together with the Georgian side, “to further deepen political mutual trust, to expand the space for cooperation…”
Armenian scholar attends a Chinese think tank discussion on “democracy”
On June 8, an international online video seminar entitled “The path to democracy in the new age” was held. The conference was hosted by the China Institute of International Studies, a Chinese think tank affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Reportedly, more than 40 people from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation secretariat, the SCO member countries and observer states, other officials, experts, scholars, and media representatives attended the event.
According to the report, the chairman of the Center for Political and Economic Strategic Studies in Yerevan, Benyamin Poghosyan, said that the cases of some countries in the Middle East being in the chaos of war made it clear that the imposed democratic system’s outcome is very tragic. “The world is more turbulent when individual countries use democracy as a tool to seek hegemony,” the China Institute of International Studies reported.
“Undoubtedly, the partnership during the pandemic made our ties even stronger” – Georgian Ambassador to China says
Archil Kalandia. Source: CGTN
On June 9, Georgia Ambassador to China Archil Kalandia published an article in Chinese state media outlet CGTN entitled “Exemplary relations of two ancient civilizations in the 21st century”.
He noted that at the political level, the governments of Georgia and China put every effort into deepening a bilateral partnership that was “well demonstrated” in the intensification of high-level contacts and reciprocal visits that “positively influenced” the rising trend of business-to-business and people-to-people cooperation, and according to the Ambassador, translated into various joint projects.
The Ambassador once again appreciated China’s assistance during the Covid-19 pandemic – “Undoubtedly, the partnership during the pandemic made our ties even stronger”.
“It is of high importance for Georgia that China, a member of the United Nations Security Council and an important actor in the global affairs, unequivocally upholds the basic principles of international law and UN Charter and strongly supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia,” Kalandia stated adding that Georgia fully supported and was in line with the one-China principle.
Kalandia also wrote that within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, it was important to promote the development of the Trans-Caspian International Transport Corridor.
“It is my deep conviction that we can only build a sustainable, peaceful, and progressive world if we bolster transnational communication and intensify economic cooperation. I believe that with joint efforts, we will advance our cooperation and partnership and we will witness new achievements in the coming years. As the Chinese saying goes, “Only when all contribute their firewood can they build up a big fire,” concluded the Ambassador.