|Remarks by Amb. JI Yanchi at the China-Georgia Friendship Day celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between China and Georgia|
(June 9, 2017, 13:00 Rike Park, Tbilisi)
Honorable Prime Minister Kvirikashvili,
Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends,
Today, we have gathered at the China-Georgia Friendship Day in order to solemnly celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Georgia. This is a day of a great historical significance, jointly celebrated by the Chinese and Georgian people. First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Georgia, I would like to express our gratitude towards the Government of Georgia, Tbilisi Municipal Government, Gbtimes, the Chinese enterprises and all our friends for their kind support and assistance. I warmly welcome all of you attending today’s celebration.
On this exact day 25 years ago, “Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations” between the Governments of China and Georgia was solemnly signed in Tbilisi. A new era for China-Georgia relations was dawned.
During the past 25 years, under the personal care and support of the leaders of our two countries, China-Georgia relations maintained steady and healthy development. We support each other on major issues concerning sovereignty and territorial integrity and respect each other's social systems and developing paths. Our two countries hold respectful and equal attitude towards each other, and carry out cooperation on mutual-beneficial basis. We had sound cooperation in international affairs and established an exemplary model of friendly cooperative relations between two countries.
Over the past 25 years, China and Georgia have achieved very fruitful outcomes in trade-economic and investment cooperation. At the beginning of our diplomatic relations, the trade turnover stood at 3.68 million USD whereas, in 2016 it reached 717 million USD, growing 200 times. China is the number four trade partner of Georgia and the second largest exporting market for Georgian wine. Chinese FDI in Georgia stands at 600 million USD. In May, the Free Trade Agreement was officially signed between the Chinese and Georgian governments, bringing new prospects for the expansion of trade-economic cooperation.
During the past 25 years, the people to people relations between China and Georgia have become increasingly close. Cultural and artistic groups exchange visits every year. The two sides jointly opened the Confucius Institute at Tbilisi Free University. Chinese language courses are offered in 26 universities and secondary schools of Georgia. Every year, 25 Georgian students continue their studies at the Chinese universities under the Chinese Government Scholarship. Every year, 20 Chinese language teachers and volunteers come to Georgia to assist teaching Chinese language and culture. Georgia already has more than a thousand local Chinese speaking students. In 2016, over 10 thousand Chinese tourists visited Georgia, with the number increased by 46%.
Over the 25 years, Chinese companies actively participated in Georgia’s development and construction process. Nearly 30 Chinese enterprises, including Fortune 500 companies, such as China State Grid, Power China, CRCC, Huawei, CEFC and other Chinese companies like Hualing Group have invested in Georgia. They are engaged in different sectors, such as energy, communication, finance, trade, agriculture, tourism, timber industry, infrastructure, special economic zone and industrial park, as well as other key areas related to the development of Georgian national economy and the people's livelihood. The Khadori hydropower station constructed by the Chinese side was the first power station and the first large-scale foreign investment after Georgia’s independence. Chinese companies have built 82.1 kilometers of roads, 40.6 kilometers of railway, and provided a railway modernization technical solution for Georgia. Hualing Group built the Athlete Village for Tbilisi European Youth Olympic, Tbilisi Sea Special Economic Zone, Kutaisi Free Industrial Park, and invested in BASIS Bank. According to statistics, Chinese companies have created about 5,000 jobs for Georgian society. Besides that, China has provided 60 million USD free aid to support the social and economic development of Georgia.
Today, after 25 years, the Belt and Road construction has brought new important opportunities for the development of China-Georgia relations. With joint efforts, we have achieved a very good start in building the Silk Road Economic Belt. China and Georgia made significant progresses in policy coordination, unimpeded trade, facilities connectivity, financial integration, and people-to-people bonds. In May, a high-level Georgian government delegation attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing. This visit was very successful.
Currently, the China-Georgia relations stand at a new starting point in history and face promising prospects. “The power of upwind brings the right time to sail”. We are ready to work with the government and people of Georgia, to grasp the historical opportunity provided by the Belt and Road Initiatives. We will steadily promote our Belt and Road cooperation based on the principles of mutual discussion, joint construction and shared benefits. We will further enhance political trust, deepen traditional friendship, expand the mutual beneficial cooperation, intensify cultural exchange, strengthen international cooperation. Together, we will write a new chapter of the friendly cooperative relations between China and Georgia.
I wish China and Georgia prosperity, wish the two peoples happiness and health!
May the friendship between our countries last forever!