China Radar: South Caucasus; Issue 20, December 2022

ავტორი: David Batashvili, Research Fellow at the Rondeli Foundation

China Radar: South Caucasus is a monthly publication by Rondeli Foundation (GFSIS) dedicated to China’s activities and influence in the three nations of South Caucasus.

With the global rise of great power tensions and competition related to China’s role in the world, Rondeli Foundation began to take a closer look at China’s role in our own region. Since July 2020, we have been publishing China’s Activities in the South Caucasus digest that exhaustively covers events and developments in this regard. China Radar builds on China’s Activities digest to provide experts, researchers, civil servants and other observers of China’s foreign strategy with a comprehensive summary of China’s political, diplomatic, economic, informational, soft power and other activities towards Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia as well as these nations’ stances and actions concerning China.

Sources of information provided in China Radar can be found in the issues of China’s Activities digest covering the relevant months unless indicated otherwise. All issues of both China Radar and China’s Activities digest can be found on Rondeli Foundation’s China Watch page.


China’s Presence, Activities and Influence in the South Caucasus

Diplomatic Messaging

In a letter to the president of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, Chinese leader Xi Jinping emphasized the role of deepening cooperation within the Belt and Road Initiative framework in the two countries’ relations.


In a 14 December interview, China’s ambassador to Georgia, Zhou Qian, said that China would continue to develop cooperation with Georgia within the Belt and Road Initiative framework, and that Beijing welcomed Georgia's participation in the Xi Jinping’s Global Development Initiative.


Economic Involvement and Connections

Answering a question about Georgia’s Anaklia port in a 14 December interview, China’s ambassador to Georgia, Zhou Qian, referred to the port’s potential construction as was a very important part of the concept of the Middle Corridor. He also mentioned that China had a lot of experience in the construction and operation of ports, and that his embassy supported Chinese companies engaging in infrastructure projects in Georgia.


In a 6 December interview, the Chinese ambassador to Azerbaijan, Guo Min, said that the China-Azerbaijan trade turnover had increased by 18 percent in 2022. She also said that the concept of the transportation Middle Corridor (through South Caucasus and Turkey) was highly compatible with the Belt and Road Initiative, and that from January to August 2022 the number of China-Europe freight trains passing through the Middle Corridor increased by 34 percent compared to the previous year. The ambassador said she expected this number to increase further.


Technological Influence

In an interview broadcasted on 31 December, the Chinese ambassador to Georgia, Zhou Qian, expressed Beijing’s interest in “seizing the potential of cooperation” between the two countries in the 5G among other spheres.


South Caucasus Actors Expressing Support for China

On 31 December, the Georgian Times outlet named the Chinese Ambassador to Georgia Zhou Qian "the diplomat of the year" of 2022. 

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