|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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Chinese Ambassador to France spreads a false claim about the sovereignty of former Soviet countries
On April 21, the Chinese Ambassador to France Lu Shaye spread a false claim about the sovereignty of former Soviet Union countries.
“Even these ex-Soviet countries don’t have an effective status in international law because there was no international agreement to materialize their status as sovereign countries,” CNN reported his comments from a television interview.
Lu said this after noting that the question of Crimea depended “on how the problem is perceived” as the region was “at the beginning Russian” and then “offered to Ukraine during the Soviet era.”
After his statement, on April 24, China’s Foreign Ministry speaker, Mao Ning said the following: “China respects the status of the former Soviet republics as sovereign countries after the Soviet Union’s dissolution”.
It’s noteworthy that there do not seem to be any comments from the representatives of the South Caucasus countries made in response to the Chinese Ambassador’s remarks.
China-Azerbaijan relations have reached the level of strategic partnership, Chinese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs says
A photo from the meeting. Source: News.az
Assistant to the President of Azerbaijan, Executive Director of the Heydar Aliyev Foundation, Anar Alakbarov, during his visit to China, met with the country’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ma Zhaoxu, News.az reported on April 19.
Ma Zhaoxu noted that Azerbaijan-China relations were currently developing in all areas “thanks to the heads” of the two states, adding that these relations had reached the level of strategic partnership.
He also highlighted the role of the humanitarian and cultural projects implemented by the Heydar Aliyev Foundation in China, the cooperation with the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) as well as the activities of the two countries’ Embassies in expanding Azerbaijan-China relations.
Mao Zhaoxu noted that Azerbaijan had always responded positively to all of China’s initiatives. The Deputy Minister also hailed Azerbaijan’s contributions to the Belt and Road Initiative.
Ma Zhaoxu noted that China supported the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and wished the country peace.
Anar Alakbarov said that the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev always attached importance to relations with China and supported them, striving to develop bilateral relations.
Alakbarov underlined Azerbaijan’s rich tourism potential, the large-scale restoration and construction works carried out in the regained territories as well as the opportunities for Chinese investors and companies in projects implemented in other regions of the country.
He emphasized that the Heydar Aliyev Foundation would continue to implement humanitarian and cultural projects in China in the future and pointed out that Azerbaijan’s public institutions were interested in cooperation with China. He also highlighted that Azerbaijan had always supported the one-China principle.
Armenia and China discussed issues of cooperation in the robotics and semiconductor production fields
A photo from the meeting. Source: Radar.am
On April 10, Radar.am reported that Armenia’s First Deputy Minister of High-tech Industry, Gevorg Mantashyan, welcomed the Director of China Technology Transfer Center of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Member States, Zhongyuan Chao, and the Head of the International Cooperation Department of the Center, Yulia Bogdanova who were in Armenia on a working visit.
Mantashyan welcomed the delegation’s visit and expressed readiness to discuss the ways and prospects of cooperation with the center.
Zhongyuan Zhao presented the center’s functions and said that it was an official platform aimed at expanding cooperation between SCO countries in scientific, technical, commercial, economic, educational, and cultural fields. Reportedly, it also provides opportunities for joint scientific research, implementation of international exchange programs, holding innovative competitions, joint use of scientific equipment, and other options.
At the meeting, the possibilities of practical cooperation in materials science, robotics, semiconductor production, artificial intelligence, and organizing mutual visits were discussed.
In January-March 2023, China was the third-biggest trading partner of Georgia
On April 20, Geostat reported that in January-March 2023, China was the third-biggest trading partner of Georgia. The turnover between the two countries amounted to $376 million which was 7.9% of the total trade.
China was Georgia’s fourth-biggest import partner with $242.6 million (7.3% of total imports). Compared to January-March 2022, that was a 0.3% growth.
China also was Georgia’s fourth-biggest trading partner by exports with $133.3 million, which was 9.1% of total exports. Compared to the same period last year, that was a 39.4% decrease.
It is noteworthy that the top export item was copper ores and concentrates, amounting to 77.6% ($103.5 million) of Georgia’s total exports to China.
Baku Port and China’s Qingdao Port sign a MOU
A photo from the event. Source: APA
Baku International Sea Trade Port CJSC (Baku Port) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Qingdao Port – one of the largest ports in China, APA reported on April 17.
According to the report, the main goal of the memorandum is to attract a larger volume of transit cargo flow through the Middle Corridor passing through Azerbaijan, “to form and develop mutually beneficial cooperation between the mentioned ports”.
Chinese state-controlled media targets Georgia’s Rose Revolution
The Chinese state-controlled media once again targeted Georgia’s democratic Rose Revolution of 2003. On April 13, CGTN published an article entitled “‘Hybrid warfare’ and the hidden crisis for American hegemony”.
The article included the following passage: “Central Asia has been a playground for the American-style hybrid warfare, too. Between 2003 and 2005, anti-government forces in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan mounted mass protests at the instigation of the U.S., leading to regime change”.
In January-March 2023, China was 4th biggest trading partner of Azerbaijan
In January-March 2023, Azerbaijan’s second-biggest importer was China with 14.62% of imports, Azernews reported on April 17.
China was the 4th biggest trading partner of Azerbaijan, with 5.31% of Azerbaijan’s total trade turnover.
Armenia and China working on new areas of cooperation, the Chinese Ambassador says
The Chinese Ambassador to Armenia, Fan Yong, said he believed that there were great prospects for Armenian-Chinese relations development, with work currently underway on new areas of cooperation, PanArmenian reported on April 21.
According to the Ambassador, the parties are working to expand partnerships in new areas, which will make it possible to further deepen bilateral cooperation.
Capacity building in the field of high technologies was reported to be one of the directions. The Chinese Ambassador expressed a belief that this would be an incentive for the development of the Armenian state and that Beijing would always be close to Yerevan.
Fan Yong expressed his hope that more Chinese companies would soon be willing to invest in the Armenian economy.
Agreement with China’s Qingdao Port to allow attract cargo from China, South Korea to Azerbaijan, Baku Port Director says
A photo from the meeting. Source: Trend
On April 17, Trend reported the Director General of the Port of Baku Taleh Ziyadov as saying that the agreement between the Port of Baku and the Chinese Port of Qingdao would allow attracting cargo from China, South Korea, and other countries of the East to the territory of Azerbaijan with further transportation to Europe.
Ziyadov made his remarks during the event dedicated to the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Ports of Baku and Qingdao.
“In the Port of Qingdao, almost all operational work is carried out automatically, ‘green’ and clean technologies are used. Our cooperation will also allow attracting new technologies to the Port of Baku… The location of our port is of great strategic importance. For example, within a radius of 1,000 kilometers, this covers a population of 140 million people. From a logistical point of view, we expect that in the future most of these cargoes will be in the Port of Baku,” he said.
While speaking about the Middle Corridor, Ziyadov noted the opening of new regional opportunities for its development by Azerbaijan, particularly, the creation of the Zangazur Corridor:
“China and Chinese companies are actively taking advantage of this, and we are confident that in the future the flow of goods will only grow, both from East to West and in the opposite direction”.
Georgian Ambassador to China once again thanked the Chinese side for the Covid pandemic assistance
A photo from the meeting. Source: The Georgian Embassy to China
The Ambassador of Georgia to China, Archil Kalandia, went on a business trip to Chengdu, in Sichuan, the Georgian Embassy in China reported on April 12.
There he met the Deputy Governor, as well as heads of the local departments of foreign affairs, commerce, culture, and tourism. Kalandia introduced the investment and tourism opportunities of Georgia to the government representatives of the Sichuan province and emphasized the importance of business contacts intensification and cooperation in the tourism field.
He once again thanked the Chinese side for assistance to the health care system of Georgia during the pandemic. Reportedly, in March 2020, the government of Sichuan province provided free PCR tests to the Georgian side.
The Georgian Ambassador also visited the city of Mianyang, where he saw the free industrial zone and local high-tech companies.
Azerbaijan and China discussed increasing the volume of Chinese goods transported through Azerbaijan
A photo from the meeting. Source: Report
According to Azerbaijan’s Minister of Digital Development and Transport Rashad Nabiyev, Azerbaijan and China exchanged views on increasing the volume of Chinese goods transported through Azerbaijan via the Middle Corridor, the Report wrote on April 18.
According to Nabiyev, the issue was discussed during the meeting with the delegation of Shandong Port Group, “one of the largest port operators in the world”.
Permanent Delegations of Azerbaijan, China co-organized UNESCO Silk Roads Programme event
On April 6, the 35th-anniversary celebration of the UNESCO Silk Roads Programme was held at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris, UNESCO reported on April 21.
The series of events was co-organized by UNESCO and the Permanent Delegations of Azerbaijan, China, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Oman to UNESCO.
Reportedly, Ministers and Deputy Ministers from Azerbaijan, China, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Oman, as well as the experts, discussed potential avenues for new collaborations and strategies “as the program seeks to enhance the conditions for meaningful intercultural dialogue”.
Georgia’s Scientific Research Center of Agriculture Director took part in an international personnel exchange conference in China
A photo from the meeting. Source: The Scientific Research Center of Agriculture
The Director of Georgia’s Scientific Research Center of Agriculture, Levan Ujmajuridze, visited China, the center reported on April 21. He took part in the 21st international personnel exchange conference and several symposiums.
At the symposiums held in Wuhan and Shenzhen, Ujmajuridze spoke about the main activities of the Scientific Research Center of Agriculture and focused on international relations and joint projects.
Reportedly, the center and relevant research institutions of China have been successfully cooperating for years.
Armenian school students spoke with the Chinese spaceflight crew
A photo from the event. Source: Armenpress
A group of school students in Armenia spoke with the crew of Shenzhou 15, the Chinese spaceflight that launched on 29 November 2022, Armenpress reported on April 20.
The Chinese Ambassador to Armenia, Fan Yong, said that this event was the first of its kind organized in Armenia and it was a very good chance for young Armenian people to get to know China’s achievements in space.
“Because Armenia and China are very good partners and friends, we try to share our experience of development with Armenia. I think this is a very good chance to spark interest in space among Armenian young people, which will then develop the country. The development of astronautics played a big role in China’s path of development… I think the knowledge in this sector is highly important for Armenia because Armenia has also launched a satellite into space,” he said.
The Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sport, Artur Martirosyan said the event was a sign of the friendship between Armenia and China.