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) 

  • Georgia’s ruling party representative and Chinese Ambassador agree on cooperation
  • Chinese Ambassador and Armenia’s Gegharkunik region governor discuss cooperation
  • Zangezur to ensure transport links diversification between China and Central Asian nations toward Europe, Azerbaijani Minister says
  • China is Azerbaijan’s third-biggest importer


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Georgia’s ruling party representative and Chinese Ambassador agree on cooperation

A photo from the meeting. Source: The Parliament of Georgia

The Chair of the Agrarian Issues Committee of the Georgian Parliament, Nino Tsilosani, held an introductory meeting with the Ambassador of China to Georgia, Zhou Qian, and “emphasized the cooperation in the agrarian sphere and close cooperation between the committees”, the Parliament of Georgia reported on December 16.

Tsilosani announced they had agreed on cooperation in main directions, including tea development projects and closer cooperation between “the committees”: “In this context, we start planning our further activities in 2023”.

“We may share many interesting innovations and ideas from China in the agrarian sphere since starting from tea manufacturing, they have centuries of traditions in many other agrarian directions and occupy significant positions in the international market,” Tsilosani said.


Chinese Ambassador and Armenia’s Gegharkunik region governor discuss cooperation

A photo from the visit. Source: Radar Armenia

Armenia’s Gegharkunik region Governor Karen Sargsyan received the Chinese Ambassador to Armenia Fan Yong, Radar Armenia reported on December 13.

According to the Governor’s Facebook page, he also received the representative of the Ministry of Defense of China, the military attaché, and other officials.

“I presented to the ambassador the history of the Gegharkunik region, the multi-sector investment projects implemented in the area with the support of the RA government, and the potential of the region’s economy; I presented the situation in the border settlements of the region as a result of the latest Azerbaijani aggression, expressing the hope that China will also support solving the security problems created in the border areas of the region through peaceful negotiations. The visit of PRC Ambassador Fan Yong can be the best start for designing and developing cooperation,” the governor wrote.

Sargsyan expressed willingness to establish decentralized cooperation between the Gegharkunik region and any region or city in China.

Reportedly, the Chinese Ambassador to Armenia expressed his willingness to support the establishment of decentralized cooperation.

“…taking into account the opportunities and potential of the Gegharkunik region, there is a desire to expand the newly formed cooperation, especially in the field of agriculture and tourism,” the report said.

The Governor also wrote that with the support of the Ambassador, the Chinese language learning process would be organized by the students of secondary school No. 2, and Chinese literature would be provided to the school.


Chinese MFA comments on Armenia and Azerbaijan

The Chinese Foreign Ministry Speaker Wang Wenbin commented on the Armenia-Azerbaijan issue, the Chinese MFA reported on December 15. 

The Russian state media TASS representative asked him about “a group of Azerbaijani nationals, who called themselves ecologists, recently blocked the Lachin corridor, the only road connecting Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh” and what was China’s comment about it.

“We hope relevant countries in the region will increase dialogue and communication and jointly protect peace and stability in the region and ensure that people there can live in peace,” Wang answered.


An interview with the Chinese Ambassador to Georgia

On December 14, Georgian Times published an interview with the Chinese Ambassador to Georgia, Zhou Qian.

Zhou Qian said that China would continue to develop cooperation with Georgia, develop bilateral relations within the Belt and Road Initiative, China-Europe express and in other formats. He also said that the Chinese side welcomed Georgia’s participation in the Xi Jinping’s Global Development Initiative, which according to him, would ensure economic progress and the prosperity of the Georgian people.

Speaking about the presence of Georgian wine in the Chinese market, he said that it was possible to create a brand that would be related to a historical event and he added that the Chinese knew Stalin well.

Answering a question about the Anaklia port, the Ambassador said that its construction was a very important part of the concept of the Middle Corridor. He added that China had a lot of experience in the construction of ports and also their operation. The Ambassador noted that it was important not only for the construction of the port but also its development. He added that the Chinese Embassy supported Chinese companies to engage in infrastructure projects in Georgia.

The journalist Malkhaz Gulashvili told the Ambassador about the new announcement by the Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili that Anaklia port would be built with the participation of the state, where the state would own 51% while for the rest they would announce an international competition. Zhou Qian replied that it was good news to Chinese investors and Chinese side would encourage Chinese companies to come to Georgia and study the place and conduct negotiations with the Georgian side.


China is Azerbaijan’s third-biggest importer

In January-October 2022, China accounted for 3.8% of Azerbaijan’s total trade turnover, Azernews reported on December 13. China was Azerbaijan’s third-biggest importer with 14.6% of imports.


Zangezur to ensure transport links diversification between China and Central Asian nations toward Europe, Azerbaijani Minister says

Azerbaijani Digital Development and Transport Minister Rashid Nabiyev said that the Zangezur corridor, “as the shortest and safest transit corridor”, would ensure the diversification of transport links between China and Central Asian nations towards Europe, Azernews reported on December 14.