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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China's Security Ministry targets Georgia's democratic revolution
China's Security Ministry targeted Georgia's democratic Rose Revolution of 2003. On August 28, the Chinese state-controlled Global Times published a material entitled "China's security ministry lashes out against US Intelligence Strategy by exposing four US dangerous modes of thinking".
The Chinese media-reported China's Security Ministry's statement said the following: "Starting in 2003, a series of 'color revolutions' occurred in Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan, with the US intelligence department being regarded as important behind-the-scenes actors".
Chinese Ambassador: If the conditions are right, the Chinese companies will not have a problem to be involved in the construction of Anaklia port
Responding to the question about Anaklia, the Ambassador of China to Georgia, Zhou Qian, answered to the journalists that generally the infrastructure projects of the Belt and Road Initiative and Middle Corridor were the subject of interest of the Chinese companies, Interpressnews reported on September 6.
"If the conditions are right, the Chinese companies will not have a problem to be involved in the construction of the Anaklia port, as well as in other projects," the Ambassador said.
US Ambassador: Georgia's commitments on the political side seem to endorse China's attempt to reform the world into a more authoritarian version
In an August 21 interview with RFE/RL, the US Ambassador to Georgia, Kelly Degnan, discussed the China-Georgia strategic partnership and said that on the political side, some of the commitments of Georgia seem to endorse China's attempt to reform the world into a more authoritarian version.
"...I think it's important to proceed with caution when you are moving into making political commitments with China," the Ambassador said.
She noted that even in the economic realm, it was important to have transparency and "to ensure that any deals… or commitments you make are in Georgia's best interest, not just China's best interest".
"I think the joint statement that was signed was quite expansive in terms of the political commitments that Georgia signed up to," Degnan said.
She noted the following: "So economic trade is something that Georgia, as I said, has had with China for some time. But, some of the commitments on the political side that seem to endorse China's attempt to reform the world into a more authoritarian version that is in competition with the rules-based international order that Georgia has been a part of and has benefited from, as have we all, it has brought greater prosperity, it has brought stability and peace to much of the world. It has raised billions of people out of poverty. And it has ensured independence and basic freedoms that I know are not new to Georgia, but in fact, are very much a part of Georgia's DNA. That is why Georgia has always had a European orientation because the values that Georgians have going back for centuries are the same values that we, and Europeans, share. It is what makes us such close partners and friends, natural friends and partners because we share these values. I question whether those are the values that the People's Republic of China shares with Georgia".
She also noted that there was "a clear commitment" by Georgia to China's territorial integrity and sovereignty but the Ambassador did not see a reciprocal pledge by China to Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity.
"That is the top priority of this country, is ensuring this country's sovereignty and territorial integrity, particularly when 20% of the territory is occupied by Russia, a country with which China has had increasingly close relations," she said.
Chinese Embassy, GSAC, Geocase organized a joint forum on the BRI, "Chinese Path to Modernization and New Opportunities to China-Georgia Cooperation"
A photo from the forum. Source: GSAC
On September 6, a joint forum was organized by the Chinese Embassy in Georgia, the Georgian Strategic Analysis Center (GSAC), and the Geocase entitled "The 10th Anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese Path to Modernization and New Opportunities to China-Georgia Cooperation", GSAC reported.
The Ambassador of China to Georgia, Zhou Qian, the First Deputy Chairperson of the Parliament from the ruling Georgian Dream party, Gia Volski, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Georgia, Alexander Khvtisiashvili, former Georgian Ambassador to Ukraine and Russia, Valeri Chechelashvili, former Georgian Ambassador to China, David Aptsiauri, the Director of the Georgian Strategic Analysis Center, Nodar Kharshilaze, the Chair of Geocase, Victor Kipiani, the Director of the Chinese Belt and Road Research Institute, Qi Xin, and the Vice president of China Foreign Affairs University, Sun Jisheng, attended the event and delivered speeches.
According to the GSAC, the aim of the forum was to "explore new opportunities for future cooperation between the two countries, enhance mutual understanding, and promote bilateral cooperation in various fields, including politics, economics, culture, tourism, energy, transportation, infrastructure, and communication".
Reportedly, from the Chinese side, Professor Xun Jisheng and Zha Wen noted that the meaning of the Belt and Road Initiative was "to promote the global development of the economy and the economic progress of the countries involved in it". GSAC wrote that according to the Chinese side, there were "forces trying to make China and the EU confront each other, which has no basis…"
The second panel, led by the co-founder of GSAC, Tornike Sharashenidze, discussed "issues of modernization of the Chinese economy, which contributes to the well-being of the population and economic progress". GSAC wrote that according to the Chinese speakers, "within the framework of cooperation with Georgia, the Chinese side is interested that more Chinese companies take part in economic projects passing through Georgia, which would further deepen bilateral relations".
According to the representative of Geocase and the former Ambassador of Georgia to China, David Aptsiauri, he was glad that China-Georgia relations were entering a more active phase. He also noted that he welcomed the fact that China was actively interested in participating in projects in the South Caucasus and expressed hope that more Chinese companies would be interested in this region.
Regarding the relations between Georgia and China and its development prospects, a member of the GSAC management board, Valeri Chechelashvili, reportedly noted that the recently activated economic relations between China and Georgia were welcome. However, at the same time, he expressed hope that the Georgian government would actively continue trade relations with the European Union and other Western partner countries. Chechelashvili also noted that there were certain questions within the framework of Georgia's relations with China, especially in the context of strategic cooperation, which required open and clear answers from the government.
Azerbaijani Trade House opened in Beijing
A photo from the event. Source: Azertac
On September 3, the first Azerbaijan Trade House in the city of Beijing was opened, Trend reported.
The Azerbaijani Minister of Economy, Mikayil Jabbarov, said that the establishment of the Trade House would play a crucial role in diversifying economic relations between Azerbaijan and China and increasing their trade turnover. This is Azerbaijan's 4th trade house in China.
The Chinese Ambassador to Georgia met with Ivane Chkhartishvili
A photo from the meeting. Source: The Embassy of China to Georgia
On September 7, the Ambassador of China, Zhou Qian, met with the President of the Georgia-China Friendship Association, Ivane Chkhartishvili, the Chinese Embassy reported. Reportedly, they talked about economic, trade, cultural and people-to-people cooperation between the two countries.
The Chinese Embassy held a reception for Armenian media
A photo from the meeting. Source: The Embassy of China to Armenia
On August 17, the Chinese Embassy in Armenia held a reception for local media, at which the Chinese Ambassador, Fan Yong, delivered a speech, the Embassy reported on August 21. Reportedly, 30 representatives of "more than ten leading media" attended the event.
Reportedly, the Ambassador highly appreciated "the long-term contribution of the Armenian media to the development of bilateral relations, presented the spirit of the 20th Congress of the CCP, the modernization according to the Chinese model and 'three global initiatives', China-Armenia relations and the results of cooperation in the framework of the joint building of the Belt and Road Initiative…"
Azerbaijani Minister of Economy held meetings in China
During his official visit to China, the Azerbaijani Minister of Economy, Mikayil Jabbarov, met with the Vice President of Wontai Power company, Lin Baisheng, and explored prospects for cooperation, Trend reported on September 2.
"We discussed the favorable environment created for investors in Azerbaijan. We also exchanged views on our country's potential in the field of renewable energy," Jabbarov reportedly said.
An Azerbaijani delegation led by Jabbarov also participated in the opening ceremony of the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing.
Jabbarov also met with the Chairman of China Energy International Group Co., Lyu Zexiang and according to the Minister, they discussed the projects implemented in Azerbaijan's energy sector.
"We also exchanged views on prospects for cooperation with the company, as well as our country's green energy potential, and the projects executed in our liberated territories," he said.
The TSU and the Chinese University of Foreign Relations discussed cooperation
The Rector of the Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University Jaba Samushia hosted the Vice President of the China University of Foreign Relations Sun Jisheng, the Director of the Institute of Asian Studies Guo Yanjun, and representatives of the Institute of International Relations and Chinese Embassy, Interpressnews reported on September 5.
Reportedly, issues of future cooperation between the TSU and the Chinese University of Foreign Relations were discussed.
Sun Jisheng and other representatives of the Chinese delegation talked about deepening the future partnership between the universities, and about planning and implementing joint scientific and educational projects in the sphere of international relations and political sciences.
Bunyad Samad Huseynov appointed Azerbaijani Ambassador to China
The President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, signed the order on the appointment of Bunyad Samad Huseynov Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Azerbaijan to China, APA reported on August 29. In the past, he was the Azerbaijani Ambassador to Iran.
Armenia's Lori province Governor and Chinese Embassy discussed cooperation prospects
On August 31, the Chinese Ambassador to Armenia Fan Yong invited Armenia's Lori province Governor Aram Khachatryan to the Embassy.
The Chinese Embassy in Armenia wrote that it was ready to become a link between the Lori region and the respective provinces and cities of China to facilitate regional exchanges and cooperation and for the development of cooperation in various areas.
Reportedly, Aram Khachatryan thanked the Embassy for its help in the development of the Lori region. According to the Embassy, the Lori region was ready to continue to strengthen regional cooperation with Chinese provinces and cities and to intensify friendly relations between peoples and mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation between China and Armenia.
Confucius Scientific Research Institute to start functioning in Georgian Technical University
In the near future, the Confucius Scientific Research Institute will start functioning at the Georgian Technical University (STU), Interpressnews reported on September 1.
The details of the action plan were discussed at a working meeting by the STU delegation, led by the chancellor, Karlo Kopaliani, who was on a special invitation to the Sichuan University of Science and Engineering in China and by the President of the Chinese University, Professor Shanguo Duo.
According to Kopaliani, during the working meeting, the parties discussed the possibilities of deepening the scientific-academic partnership, developing joint educational programs and lecture courses, and activating the process of mobility of academic staff and students.
Azerbaijani and Chinese Culture Ministers discussed prospects of cooperation
Adil Karimli and Hu Heping. Source: Azertac
As part of his visit to China, Azerbaijan's Minister of Culture, Adil Karimli, met with China's Minister of Culture and Tourism, Hu Heping, Azertac reported on September 5.
The Azerbaijani minister commended cooperation in various areas including culture.
The sides discussed prospects for cooperation in theater, cinematography, museums, libraries, preservation and restoration of cultural heritage, as well as in language and literature fields, and other issues of mutual interest.
Azerbaijan's Ministry of Culture delegation also met with the Director of China's National Administration of Cultural Heritage, Li Chun, Azernews reported on September 8.
He thanked Azerbaijan's Minister of Culture Adil Karimli for accepting the invitation and visiting China. Reportedly, the minister noted "the importance" of further deepening cooperation with China in various cultural fields, including in the cultural heritage field, and emphasized the significance of the exchange of experience in a number of fields.
Georgian Dream MP and Chinese Ambassador discussed cooperation in the education field
On August 31, the ruling Georgian Dream party MP and the Chairman of the Parliament's Education and Science Committee Givi Mikanadze met with the Chinese Ambassador to Georgia Zhou Qian.
Reportedly, China-Georgia cooperation in the education field dominated the conversation at the meeting.
They discussed the implementation of the issues outlined in the agreement signed between the Ministries of Education of Georgia and China. They also emphasized the teaching of the Chinese language in Georgia's educational space and "the significance of Confucius class activity in this regard".
The two sides also discussed the expansion of exchange programs, as well as professional education and the incorporation of modern technologies into the education system.
According to the report, they also discussed the forthcoming visit of the Georgian parliamentary delegation to China.
Armenia's Arararat Province and Chinese Ambassador discussed cooperation prospects
On August 24, the Chinese Ambassador to Armenia, Fan Yong, invited the Governor of Armenia's Arararat Province, Sedrak Tevonyan, to the Chinese Embassy.
The Chinese Embassy in Armenia wrote that it was ready to become a link between the two countries to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in the trade and economy, agriculture, tourism, education and other fields.
Tevonyan praised "the development achievements of China", expressed hope for an active review of "establishing friendly relations with Chinese provinces and cities", and also expressed readiness to provide good conditions for investment by Chinese enterprises, to develop industry, create an enabling environment for tourists, and to promote the development of cooperation in the trade-economic field between the two sides.
Azerbaijan Airlines President and Chinese Ambassador discussed the prospects of opening Baku-Chengdu direct flights
The President of Azerbaijan Airlines Jahangir Asgarov met with the Ambassador of China to Azerbaijan Guo Min, Azertac reported on August 31. The two sides discussed prospects for cooperation in the civil aviation field and the development of tourism.
They also discussed the prospects of opening direct flights between Baku and the capital of Sichuan province in China, Chengdu.
Reportedly, Asgarov and Guo Min expressed confidence that such initiatives were aimed at strengthening relations between the two countries and creating new prospects for the development of tourism and business.