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)
News from December 16
Chinese company signed a construction contract for Georgia's E-60 highway
According to Seetao's December 16 report, "recently, CNNC 23 (China Nuclear Industry 23 Construction Co., Ltd.) signed a construction contract for cement concrete pavement paving of E-60 highway Shorapani-Argveta (F-4) with Georgia Branch of Guizhou Road and Bridge Group".
Reportedly, this project was "the first cooperation" between CNNC 23 and the Georgia Branch of Guizhou Road and Bridge Group, and it was also the sixth cement concrete pavement construction contract signed in Georgia.
"CNNC 23 undertook the cement concrete pavement and guardrail construction of the Shorapani-Argveta (F-4) section of the E-60 highway, with a project volume of about 14 km and is expected to start in June 2023," the report said.
26.12.2022 – 1.1.2023
China wants to maintain close relations with Georgia, cooperate in 5G, telecommunication, Chinese Ambassador says
Zhou Qian. Source: China's MFA/Silk Universal TV
On December 31, Silk Universal TV broadcasted videos of interviews with several Ambassadors to Georgia, including, the Chinese Ambassador to Georgia Zhou Qian. The Ambassador mainly discussed China-Georgia cooperation.
"Next year we will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the Belt and Road Initiative. Cooperation between China and Georgia was developed within the framework of the BRI and a number of large projects were implemented," the Ambassador said while talking about the BRI. He also said that China wanted to maintain close relations with Georgia and seize the potential of cooperation in such areas as 5G, infrastructure, construction, telecommunication interconnection, and others.
Zhou Qian said that the possibilities of cooperation in literature, cinema, television, history, and other fields were also actively discussed.
About the two Confucius Institutes and one Confucius classroom in Georgia, the Ambassador noted that these places became "an important platform for cultural and ideological exchange between the two countries".
The Chinese Embassy in Georgia and China's MFA also reported on the interview.
China Southern Airlines to resume regular flights to Georgia
China Southern Airlines would resume regular flights to Georgia, 1TV reported on December 28.
According to the Georgian Civil Aviation Agency, regular flights between Urumqi and Tbilisi will begin in January 2023 and run every Friday until March 25, 2023.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, China Southern Airlines canceled flights to Georgia in January 2020.
China is one of the priority destinations for the Georgian tourism sector, Georgian Deputy Economy Minister says
The Georgian Deputy Economy Minister Mariam Kvrivishvili noted that China was "one of the priority" destinations for the Georgian tourism sector, Agenda reported on December 27.
She said the resumption of flights would increase the number of tourists from China to Georgia and would have a "positive impact" on the dynamics and development of tourism and civil aviation sectors in 2023. According to Kvrivishvili, it was also an additional incentive to "the deepening of trade and economic relations between the countries". Reportedly, in the pre-pandemic year 2019 there was a 50.9% increase in international visitors from China to Georgia, compared to 2018.
Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan discussed the transportation of goods from China and Kazakhstan through Azerbaijan
On December 27, a meeting was held in Astana between the delegations of Azerbaijan Railways CJSC and Kazakhstan Railways JSC. Report wrote that the participants discussed prospects for cooperation development between the two countries in the transport and logistics fields, notably, a joint action plan for the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route. They discussed conditions for the transportation of goods from China and Kazakhstan through Azerbaijan, also, the competitiveness of the route, and the attraction of additional volumes of goods.
Reportedly, they were informed about the comprehensive measures being taken to increase the attractiveness of the routes passing through Azerbaijan.
Chinese Ambassador in Georgia named "the diplomat of the year" by the Georgian Times
According to Georgian Times December 31 report, media holding Georgian Times surveyed journalists and identified winners in ten nominations.
Reportedly, 30 "well-known journalists from leading media outlets" participated in the survey.
Georgian Times wrote that "the diplomat of the year" was the Chinese Ambassador to Georgia Zhou Qian. The following were nominated: Ilia Darchiashvili, Kelly Degnan, Giorgi Janjghava, Zurab Pataraia, Andrius Kalindra, Pawel Herczynski, and Zhou Qian.