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 179th out of 180 countries)
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Georgia-China joint statement on establishing strategic partnership
Garibashvili meets with Xi. Source: Government of Georgia
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili met with the CCP Chairman Xi Jinping in China, where the two sides announced the establishment of a China-Georgia strategic partnership.
Garibashvili went on an official visit to China on July 26. He first visited Chengdu and participated in the Opening Ceremony of the Summer World University Games, and then departed for Beijing.
The agreement has four domains - political, economic, people-to-people, and cultural and international.
The highly pro-Beijing joint statement said that Georgia supported Xi Jinping-proposed Global Security Initiative, Global Development Initiative, and Global Civilization Initiative. On GSI, it was stressed that the two sides would like to strengthen exchanges and cooperation under the Initiative's framework.
The two countries reaffirmed their respect for the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of "all countries" while the Georgian side emphasized that it "firmly adhered" to the "one-China principle".
According to the statement, Georgia believes that "Chinese modernization" offers "a new path and a new option for mankind to achieve modernization". They expressed readiness to exchange experience in governance to "achieve common development and prosperity".
The two sides also expressed readiness to strengthen high-level political consultations on issues of mutual interest and "to enhance strategic mutual trust".
They also emphasized the enhancement of exchanges and cooperation between the two countries' legislative bodies in various fields and levels and communication and consultation in relevant regional and international organizations.
The document also said that the two sides would strengthen coordination and collaboration in regional and international affairs, "jointly uphold true multilateralism", and promote the establishment of "a new type of international relations".
They also wrote that they "supported the promotion of humanity's common values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy, and freedom, respect all people's independent choice of a development path suited to their national conditions, and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind".
According to the document, they will strengthen policy coordination and synergy of development planning under the Belt and Road Initiative and deepen exchanges and cooperation in various fields.
The two sides expressed readiness to facilitate mutual investment and trade and promote cooperation in the areas of transportation, communications, infrastructure modernization, development and strengthening of the Middle Corridor, digital technologies, manufacturing, upgrading and expansion of railway networks, agriculture, and food safety, water resources, "usage of Georgia's transit infrastructure for smooth export of Chinese products to Western markets", the exchange of know-how and technology, and human resource training.
The statement said that China would study "the provisions of preferential loans" for Georgia's implementation of social and infrastructure projects.
The two sides expressed readiness to actively conduct scientific and technological cooperation, noting that they would enhance their exchanges in the areas of film, press, and public diplomacy. They also supported the establishment of Confucius Institutes (Classrooms).
The document also said that Georgia viewed cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European countries "as a pragmatic, open and beneficial cross-regional cooperation platform" while China welcomed Georgia's interest in engaging in activities under the framework of this cooperative mechanism as an observer.
Xi says that political trust between China and Georgia is "solid" and cooperation in various directions "distinguished"
Garibashvili meets with Xi. Source: Government of Georgia
During Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili's visit to China, he met with the CCP Chairman Xi Jinping.
Xi told the Georgian PM that political trust between China and Georgia was "solid" and cooperation in various directions "distinguished".
"Georgia is a friend and good partner to Georgia. No matter the developments on the international arena, the attitude of China towards developing its relations with Georgia will not change," Xi stressed.
He said that China and Georgia should work together "to give a new momentum to an agile advancement of our strategic partnership, promote development in various areas in the integration of both nations and contribute to the wellbeing of mankind".
Garibashvili told Xi that this was a historic visit for him: "I am extremely grateful to you, personally. I was honored and very thankful to receive your kind invitation to visit China".
He once again expressed his gratitude to Xi and China's Government for the "support" to Georgia.
Garibashvili highlighted that Georgia firmly supported "the One China Principle" and would do so in the future.
"I am grateful for your decision to elevate our relationship to strategic partnership," Garibashvili told to the CCP Chairman.
Georgian PM and Chinese Premier discussed the development of 5G technologies
Garibashvili meets Li. Source: Government of Georgia
During his stay in China, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili met with the Premier of the State Council of China Li Qiang. They reportedly discussed developing strategic partnership and cooperation in the directions of trade and economy.
The statement said that the conversation touched on cooperation toward the development of digital economy, "including in the directions of the development of 5G technologies and the creation of data centers, the digital corridor", and the establishment of a regional digital hub in Georgia.
Garibashvili noted that Georgia attached great importance to further continuing investment cooperation with China and briefed Li Qiang on Georgia's potential in the areas of transport, logistics, energy, and renewable energy sources, as well as on large infrastructural projects actively carried out by the government.
They also discussed Georgia's transit potential and the importance of developing the Middle Corridor.
At the meeting, the following agreements were signed: the plan for bilateral cooperation between the governments of Georgia and China under the BRI, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia and the Ministry of Commerce of China on investment cooperation in the digital economy, the MOU between the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia and the Center for Language Education and Cooperation of the Ministry of Education of China on joint Chinese language education in the schools of general education of Georgia, the MOU between the State Audit Office of Georgia and the National Audit Office of China and the Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Intellectual Property between the National Intellectual Property Center of Georgia and the National Intellectual Property Administration of China.
Garibashvili at China-Georgia Business Forum in Beijing says that Anaklia Port is one of the top priorities for the Georgian Government
Irakli Garibashvili addressing the forum attendees. Source: Government of Georgia
During his official visit to China, the prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili addressed the attendees of the China-Georgia Business Forum in Beijing.
He began his speech by once again expressing gratitude to the CCP Chairman Xi Jinping.
Garibashvili noted that "Georgia highly valued China's crucial role" in the global economy and its "substantial contributions to the development and progress of nations worldwide".
While discussing the Middle Corridor he said that the development of the Anaklia Deep Sea Port is a top priority for the Georgian Government: "This is a green-field PPP project to develop, construct, operate and transfer a state-of-the-art deep-sea port on East Coastline of the Black Sea. The Port will be developed in 9 Phases to achieve an annual capacity of 100 million tons. It will be the first Georgian deep-sea port able to handle PANAMAX container vessels and introduce large feeders and direct shipping calls to the Georgian market".
He also said in his speech that Tbilisi was considering establishment of a regional digital hub, "which, on one hand, includes international connection with the fiber-optic internet infrastructure to connect Europe and Asia via the shortest route through Georgia, and, on the other hand, creation of the regional data centers". Garibashvili noted that the elaboration of the advisory service study for the investment attraction and concept for the development of a digital hub and corridor was currently in progress.
He told the attendees that Georgia's long-term development strategies and his mentioned several projects were aligned closely with the objectives of the Belt and Road Initiative.
He told the Chinese side that the Georgian side was committed actively to engaging with more Chinese companies and introducing them to "abundant business opportunities in Georgia".
"I would like to use this opportunity to invite Chinese companies to explore Georgia's investment potential and take advantage of opportunities, including benefits that can be gained by moving and/or expanding their manufacturing, processing, and assembling facilities to Georgia," Garibashvili added.
Georgian PM and Huawei representative discussed how Georgia and Huawei can work together in ICT, industrial digital transformation, network coverage
Garibashvili and his delegation visit Huawei. Source: Government of Georgia
In China, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili, and his delegation visited heavily sanctioned Chinese company Huawei's Executive Briefing Center in Beijing and met with the Chairman of the Board of Huawei, Liang Hua.
Garibashvili and Liang discussed how Georgia and Huawei can work together in ICT, industrial digital transformation, network coverage in remote areas, green energy, talent cultivation, and more.
Reportedly, Liang praised Georgia's National Broadband Development Strategy for 2020-2025 and discussed the latest trends in digitalization "such as smart harbors and digital energy".
Liang Hua also expressed Huawei's interest in leveraging its ICT expertise to support Georgia's recently unveiled "Long-Term National Strategy for the Development of Digital Economy and Information Society and its Implementation Plan". He added the company would like to contribute to Georgia's ambitions to build regional hubs for digital, transportation, logistics, and clean energy that link Asia and Europe.
The report also said that Garibashvili toured the company's exhibition hall which displayed cutting-edge digital technologies such as 5G, AI, and cloud, "and tried out real-world applications of new technologies".
Georgian PM and AIIB President discuss cooperation
A photo from the meeting. Source: Government of Georgia
While visiting China, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili met with the President of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Jin Liquin.
The two sides discussed key directions of the cooperation agenda between Georgia and AIIB. They also reviewed new fields of cooperation, including the areas of energy security and green/renewable energy.
Garibashvili said that Georgia was implementing "significant infrastructural projects to bolster inter-regional and intra-regional ties".
Garibashvili emphasizes "the vital role" of Confucius Institutes in Georgia
A photo from the event. Source: Government of Georgia
During his China visit, the Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Garibashvili visited the Beijing Language and Culture University where Shota Rustaveli's sculpture was unveiled.
He once again thanked Xi Jinping for inviting him and his delegation to China.
While addressing the attendees he emphasized "the vital role played by the Confucius Institutes" in Georgia. He said these institutes were actively contributing to the spreading of the Chinese culture and language in Georgia: "We are eager to continue supporting and developing this initiative".
Georgia's ruling party representatives unanimously praise Georgia-China strategic partnership, criticize critics' concerns
Georgia's ruling party Georgian Dream Chairman Irakli Kobakhidze said that establishing a strategic partnership with China was one of the most important foreign policy achievements of Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, GHN reported on August 1.
"The strategic partnership is important in different ways, of course, in political terms as well as economically," Kobakhidze says.
About China, the Chairman of the Georgian Parliament Shalva Papuashvili said that it was important that "one of the main players in the Middle Corridor for using and loading, is our strategic partner".
Then he criticized the critics of the China-Georgia strategic partnership:
"Those people, whether they are opposition politicians or now newborn China "experts", have not worked for a minute and have not read a single article, now they are talking about China. If these people do not understand the importance of this strategic relationship, they shall not be seen either in politics or in expert circles. They lack the knowledge and competence to talk about this issue. Now they are standing and scrutinizing some sentences," GHN reported him as saying.
Shalva Papuashvili continued in another interview: "Just because we have a partnership, friendly relationship with China and we deepen our relationship, now it turns out that the opposition is thinking that China is a threat to Georgia".
About the Anaklia project he said that it was a state project and most of its share is the state's share and it would continue to be like that.
"... Of course, we do not see any threat in the Chinese investment. On the contrary, we welcome it. The opposition wants to say something bad and they even discuss China as a threat, which is irresponsible. I do not know who dictates these messages to our opposition, but their statement that China is a threat is not in the interest of the country," Papuashvili stressed.
A GD official Irakli Zarkua also criticized the concerns raised by representatives of some opposition parties saying: "China has strategic cooperation with Belgium, Great Britain, Poland and, you would be surprised, with Ukraine as well." He did not elaborate on when the partnerships had been established.
About Garibashvili's China trip, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Ilia Darchiashvili, said that this was "a truly historic visit that has not happened for years".
"The process of deepening political relations will be more dynamic," Interpressnews reported him saying.
It is noteworthy that of the leaders of the anti-West, allegedly closely associated with the ruling Georgian Dream party, People's Power party, Sozar Subari praised the recent development in Georgia-China relations.
The Chinese Embassy writes that the deepening China-Azerbaijan armed forces relationship is in both countries' interest
A photo from the event. Source: The Embassy of China to Azerbaijan
On July 24, the Ambassador of China to Azerbaijan, Guo Min, and Military Attaché and Senior Captain of the PLA Navy, Wang Lei, held a reception at the Gulistan Palace in Baku to celebrate the 96th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army of China. Reportedly, nearly 300 people attended the reception, including senior generals of the armed force and officials of force departments of Azerbaijan, foreign diplomatic and military corps in Azerbaijan, and media representatives.
Wang Lei said that in the 30 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Azerbaijan, military relations between China and Azerbaijan "developed smoothly under the guidance and leadership of the heads of state and the highest commanders of the armed forces of both countries, alongside closer ties in regional and international cooperation between them".
The Chinese Embassy wrote that "in the face of a constantly changing world, deepening the friendly and cooperative relationship" between the armed forces of China and Azerbaijan "conforms to the fundamental interests of both sides, which will also benefit the peoples of the two countries and be conducive to the peace, stability, and prosperity of the world and relevant regions".
Garibashvili says that Xi is "truly an exemplary leader" who has done great things for his nation
On August 6, the Chinese state-controlled CGTN published an interview with Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.
He said that this was his first meeting with "President Xi" and continued: "I want to express my sincere gratitude to him for inviting me to visit China and of course, I was particularly pleased by the decision we together made to elevate the existing relationship to the next level. So, Georgia and China became strategic partners, which I believe will be a very important decision..."
Garibashvili said that it was a historic visit for him.
He continued by describing Xi Jinping: "Without exaggeration, President Xi is truly an exemplary leader, visionary, wise man who did great things for his great nation and who is doing very ambitious projects and reforms for your country and for your nation and I think he is an inspirational leader".
About the journalist's question if he had got the chance to read a little bit of Xi's Governance book he answered "absolutely".
Garibashvili added that during their bilateral meeting, they also spoke about the potential share of experience of governance, of other initiatives that come from China and Xi Jinping: "So I am very interested in strengthening our bilateral ties, relationship, friendship, and trust with the Chinese government and President Xi".
Garibashvili also said that his government "fully supported President Xi's initiatives". He continued: "I will tell you why, all these initiatives are pro-peace, pro-progress, modernization, prosperity, and for development and I think this is what the world needs today. The world today needs peace, stability, and prosperity. For all the nations, right? For the entire planet…" Garibashvili said he thought that these initiatives would inspire many countries.
About the World University Games opening ceremony, he said this was a "fantastic and spectacular one" and noted that this opening would be a "great opening for any Olympic games".
While discussing other issues, he said that they were engaged in the modernization of the railway: "which by the way is being done by the Chinese company, and also the East-West highway is also being built by the Chinese companies and I have to say how efficient they are and also their prices are competitive and we are quite satisfied by the work they do in Georgia".
He said that Tbilisi also wanted to start construction of a new airport facility and noted that "companies, even Chinese companies", and aviation companies could have terminals and other opportunities.
On trade, Garibashvili thinks that if they continue to export more products to the Chinese market and vice versa he thinks that "China can easily become an N1 trading partner for Georgia".
He also said that he encouraged Georgian businesses to do business with China and Chinese companies.
Irakli Garibashvili announced that his government was considering opening tourism centers in different cities in China to promote Georgian wine and Georgia more actively.
Georgia's ruling party representative, pro-government figure's narrative on China's possible role in Georgian territories’ de-occupation
While positively discussing with journalists Garibashvilis's trip to China and the strategic partnership, Georgian Dream Party MP Irakli Qadagishvili said the political field was the most important thing and added that this was "the de-occupation of the territories of Georgia and the restoration of territorial integrity". He said that this was the most important political space that one could have with China and any other country.
Qadagishvili claimed that Xi also noted "there" that he was "well aware of Georgia's geopolitical aspirations, that is, joining the Euro-Atlantic space, which does not prevent such high-level cooperation between China and Georgia".
"The more states actively support the de-occupation of our country, the more strategically important countries, this is the most important thing", he said, adding that they hoped for this from China and claiming that "this statement was made very clearly during the meeting".
It is also noteworthy that one of the leaders of the anti-West People's Power party, Dimitri Khundaze, claimed that "China openly declared that it would help Georgia to return the temporarily occupied territories". The source or the authenticity of this information is unknown. He also said that due to the geopolitical situation, it was also important for them to cooperate with "a new influential state in the new reality". It is noteworthy that the party is believed to be closely associated with the ruling Georgian Dream party.
The Deputy Minister of Defense of Georgia says that the Chinese military is "an important force for maintaining world peace"
A photo from the event. Source: The Embassy of China to Georgia
On August 1, the Embassy of China in Georgia held a reception to celebrate the 96th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army of China. The Military Attaché of the Chinese Embassy in Georgia, Su Ru, and about 260 guests attended the event.
The Deputy Minister of Defense of Georgia, Lela Chikovani, "expressed her admiration for the brilliant achievements of China's national defense and military development", and also expressed her admiration for "China's national defense policy in the new era and the concept of building the community of shared future for mankind", noting that the Chinese military was "an important force for maintaining world peace", and the Georgian Defense Ministry was willing to have friendly contacts with the Chinese military.
The First Deputy Speaker of the Georgian Parliament, Gia Volski, reportedly expressed warm congratulations on the 96th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese PLA, saying that Georgia and China have always respected each other and treated each other sincerely, that "bilateral relations maintained a healthy and stable momentum of development", and that it was expected that the two countries would "take the opportunity of establishing a strategic partnership to strengthen strategic communication and promote cooperation in various fields to be deepened and solid".
The Chinese Embassy says that China-Armenia military cooperation is entering a new level
A photo from the meeting. Source: The Embassy of Armenia to China
On July 31, the Chinese Embassy in Armenia held a reception dedicated to the 96th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army of China. Representatives of different ministries of Armenia and others also attended the event.
The Chinese Embassy wrote that China was ready to work with Armenia in the national defense field and develop military cooperation, strengthen strategic ties, deepen exchanges and cooperation, and "jointly promote the political settlement of regional problems and maintain world peace and stability".
The report also said that the cooperation between the armed forces of China and Armenia continues to develop steadily. "Thanks to the in-depth development of exchanges between the two countries, military cooperation is entering a new level," the Embassy wrote.
The Defense Minister of Armenia, Suren Papikyan, addressed the attendees saying that China was one of Armenia's most important international partners, and that further development of friendly bilateral cooperation ties was one of the priorities of the country's foreign policy.
Chinese Embassy and Armenia's State Revenue Committee are willing to expand cooperation
A photo from the meeting. Source: Armenia's State Revenue Committee
On August 2, the Chairman of the State Revenue Committee of Armenia, Rustam Badasyan met with the Ambassador of China to Armenia, Fan Yong, Armenia's State Revenue Committee reported.
They "emphasized the significance of the effective working relationship that has been established between the tax and customs authorities of the two countries, along with the potential for further enhancing cooperation".
Reportedly, Badasyan stressed "the importance of a close collaboration" between the two sides and outlined areas for "efficient implementation of tax and customs administration". There was an emphasis on the necessity for thorough and effective implementation of information exchange and mutual inquiries between the tax and customs authorities.
The two sides agreed to initiate actions aimed at establishing a strong connection between the tax and customs authorities to enhance cooperation. The Ambassador expressed readiness to continue taking practical steps to expand future cooperation and to implement the agreed initiatives.
Chinese Embassy and Armenia's Justice Ministry discuss cooperation
A photo from the meeting. Source: The Embassy of China to Armenia
On July 31, the Chinese Ambassador to Armenia, Fan Yong, met with Armenia's Minister of Justice, Grigor Minasyan. They exchanged views on cooperation in the field of justice between Armenia and China.
The Chinese Embassy in Armenia wrote that the Chinese side was ready, together with the Armenian side, to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in the field of justice with the relevant departments of the two countries.
Minasyan said that Armenia and China had great potential for cooperation in the field of justice. He also expressed his readiness to strengthen the exchange of experience with China regarding reforms in the justice field "to promote the development of friendly relations between Armenia and China".
China's Sichuan and Georgia's Adjara established friendly relations
A photo from the meeting. Source: MFA Georgia
On the sidelines of the Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili's visit to China, the Georgian Foreign Minister, Ilia Darchiashvili, and the Governor of the People's Government of Sichuan Province, Huang Qiang, signed an agreement on the establishment of friendly relations between Georgia's Adjara region and the Sichuan Province, MFA of Georgia reported don July 29.
They discussed the prospects of further deepening relations between the two regions. Sichuan Province Governor briefed the Georgian Foreign Minister on the Province's potential in various directions, including green energy, high technology, tourism potential, etc.
Darchiashvili spoke about Georgia's geopolitically strategic location and emphasized the country's importance "in the Middle Corridor and Silk Road". He noted "the growing trend of the tourism potential of Georgia" and expressed willingness to develop cooperation with China.
Adjara region and its advantages, including tourism potential and business opportunities, were also highlighted by the Minister.
Georgian Ensemble Erisioni participates in China Xinjiang International Dance Festival
A photo from the event. Source: Chinaqw.com
On August 3, Chinese media reported that performers from the Georgian State National Singing and Dancing Academic Ensemble Erisioni performed at the 6th China Xinjiang International Dance Festival in Urumqi, Xinjiang, China.
Azercosmos, Chinese Emposat signed a contract on providing hosting services
Azercosmos signed a business contract on the provision of hosting services with China's Emposat company, which focuses on space-to-earth communication and spacecraft in-orbit management, APA reported on August 3.
Reportedly, under the agreement, Azercosmos installed a 7.3-meter S/X band terrestrial antenna system of the Emposat company at the Baku teleport located in the Main Satellite Ground Control Station.
According to the report, this system is the second business infrastructure installed by Emposat in Azerbaijan.
Armenia and China to sign an intergovernmental agreement on international road transport
The Minister of Territorial Administration and Infrastructures of Armenia Gnel Sanosyan met with the Minister of Transport of China Li Xiaopeng in China, Report wrote on August 2.
Reportedly, Armenia and China will soon sign an intergovernmental agreement on international road transport.
During the meeting, they discussed issues of infrastructure construction in Armenia and considered the possibility of attracting Chinese companies for the construction of roads, bridges, and tunnels, drawing up reconstruction projects.
The two also stressed the importance of launching regular air traffic between the two countries.
One of Sanosyan's trip's goals to China was participation in the sixth plenary meeting of the shareholders of the Armenian-Chinese rubber plant "Shansi-Nairit".