The South Caucasus has historically been, and continues to be, an important region that has been the subject of both competition and cooperation between many regional and global powers. Currently, the region looms large in European, Russian, American, Turkish, and Iranian geopolitical considerations. As such, the policy, strategy, and tactics of these global and regional powers toward the South Caucasus have become a major focus in the literature today with a particular emphasis on bilateral relations with these powers as well as relations within the region. Surprisingly, little analysis has been done on the policy of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the Southern Caucasus. While the Southern Caucasus appears distant from China both politically and geographically, Beijing has had a significant presence in the region and continues working hard to strengthen its position there. If the current trend continues, China could become one of the most influential players in Caucasian geopolitics.
Consistent with its geopolitical strategy in other regions, the PRC has employed a unique “cluster approach” to the Southern Caucasus, which involves developing relationships with multiple countries within the region, some of which have a history of rivalry and competition. Compared to other regional powers with an interest in the region, China has had relatively little geopolitical contact with the region and is thus free of the baggage associated with the various regional conflicts. This creates favorable conditions for developing and deepening its relations in the region. Essentially, China can sidestep with relative ease the political, historical, psychological, and other types of antagonisms that exist between the countries and nationalities of the region.
Beijing’s strategy in the Southern Caucasus consists of two distinct but interrelated elements. The first is deepening and expanding its economic activity in the region, and the second is engaging in public diplomacy and educational exchanges.
Developing ties in these two directions allows China to achieve two main goals. The first is economic interest. The Southern Caucasus has great economic potential, and business penetration into the region is very lucrative. The second imperative is of geopolitical nature. Strengthening its positions in the Southern Caucasus helps decrease the impact of Islamic fundamentalism and pan-Turkism on its Turkic-speaking Uighur population in Xinjiang. The Caucasus are closely intertwined with Central Asia, both culturally and politically, and China fears that the South Caucasus may become a corridor through which these ideologies could spread from the Middle East to Central Asia and from there, further exacerbate tensions in Xinjiang. This could pose a serious threat to the PRC’s security; therefore, for Beijing, it is much more expedient to erect additional barriers against these threats far beyond its own borders.
From a geopolitical standpoint, Chinese interests coincide with those of Russia and some regional countries, including the Islamic Republic of Iran. For Moscow, an active Chinese presence in the Caucasus enhances the Sino-Russian relationship and allows the two countries to jointly resist the West. Additionally, China’s economic contribution to the region could potentially help curb extremism in the North Caucasian republics.
China’s relationships with key Southern Caucasus states as well as with other non-recognized states will help give us unique insight into China’s two-pronged strategy in the region.
Relations between the Azeri Republic and the PRC began after Azerbaijan became independent in 1991. A solid foundation of bilateral relations between the two countries was laid during the presidency of Heydar Aliyev (1993-2003). Relations reached new heights in 2005 when the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, paid an official visit to China. Within the framework of this visit, an Azeri-Chinese business forum was organized and attended by the representatives of 40 Azeri and 400 Chinese companies. Approximately 20 contracts were signed between businesses of both countries at the forum. One agreement in particular established a base in Azerbaijan for developing Chinese know-how in the manufacture of fiberglass cables, computer technology, mobile drilling rigs for the oil and gas industry, materials for storing and packing agricultural products, and other fields.
China is particularly interested in the energy sphere of the Azeri economy. Beijing is being gradually drawn into the competitive struggle over the Caspian Sea’s oil and gas resources and has already carved out a niche for itself in Azerbaijan’s oil sector. China’s energy giant, Sinopec, has a stake in two projects—K&K and Gobustan—with investment of more than $250 million. In recent years, the K&K project has maintained an annual output of about 300,000 tons of crude oil and it is Azerbaijan’s largest onshore oil field. In December 2010, representatives of the State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) visited China and Singapore, where a contract was signed for delivering oil to China.
However, the oil and gas sector is not the only segment of the energy sphere where the two countries cooperate. China has been involved in building infrastructure in Azerbaijan and is actively helping Azerbaijan to reconstruct and repair thermoelectric and hydropower plants. The China National Electric Equipment Corporation, or CNEEC, is the top performer in this area. In 2007, this corporation won a tender to rebuild the Azerbaijani Thermoelectric Power Station and modernize its seven power-generating units. This thermoelectric power station accounts for 45% of all the electric power generated in the country. After work is finished, the capacity of the power-generating units will amount to 2,600 MW. In 2013, the Azerbaijani Thermoelectric Power Station generated 7.63 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity.
In 2010, CNEEC also acquired the right to repair the Mingechevir cascade of a hydropower plant comprised of the Mingechevir and Varvara hydropower stations. After reconstruction, their energy-generating capacity will increase from 360 to 429 MW. These hydropower plants play an important role in Azerbaijan’s energy balance.
Azerbaijan and China are also actively cooperating in other areas, particularly in the cultural and educational sphere. In this context, it should be noted that the countries reached an agreement to open a Confucius Institute in Azerbaijan in 2011. An important document here is a cooperation agreement between the Chinese and Azeri education ministries for the period of 2012-2015. Currently, more than 30 Azeri students study in China, and around 200 Chinese students study in Azerbaijan.
China and Azerbaijan’s cooperation likewise extends to the military sphere. Delegations from the Azeri Defense Ministry frequently visit China.
As for trade between the two countries, the total volume remains small but shows signs of rapid growth. Overall, the PRC still accounts for only a small percentage of Azerbaijan’s foreign trade balance. For example, in 2010 the trade turnover between the two countries constituted only 3.3% of the total volume of Azerbaijan’s foreign trade. China lagged behind such countries as the U.S., Russia, France, and Turkey.
However, trade growth over the past few years reveals potential for China to become a major trading partner in the next few years. In 2007, for example, the volume of bilateral trade constituted $279.8 million, but by 2012, this figure reached $1.2 billion; that is, in 5 years it increased over 4 times. Comparing 2012 figures with those from 1995, when the turnover constituted only $4.56 million, we see spectacular growth; the volume of bilateral trade between Azerbaijan and China during that period increased more than 263 times. If these trends continue, China will soon become one of Azerbaijan’s most important trading partners.
The increasing influx of Chinese migrant workers into Azerbaijan provides a cultural dimension to the Sino-Azeri relationship that goes beyond state-to-state actions. According to official data, there were 7,000 Chinese migrants in Azerbaijan in 2007. Since then, these numbers are reported to have increased, and Chinese are seen not only in large Azeri cities, but also in remote villages. Reportedly, there are dozens of marriages between the Chinese and Azeris.
This Chinese demographic presence is, however, becoming a source of worry for Azerbaijan. In 2010, the head of the Azerbaijan state migration service, Arzou Rakhimov, stated that there are several thousand illegal Chinese migrants in the country, and that such an inflow of labor migrants could generate serious social problems. These Chinese migrants pose a major challenge to locals because a Chinese worker is almost 3-4 times cheaper to employ than a local one. There are also political concerns and fears that, if nothing is done, Chinese quarters could appear in Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, with the corresponding potential for political activation.
Contacts between Armenia and China go deep into history. According to the pioneer of Armenian historiography, Movses Khorenatsi, the Mamikonyans, a famous Armenian noble family that played a significant role in Armenian history, were of Chinese origin. Members of this family held, for example, the post of commander-in-chief of the Armenian army from the fourth to eighth centuries. There was also a large Armenian diaspora in China, which contributed substantially to the development of trade between the two countries. The earliest sources that report about Armenian communities in China date to the second century AD, when, in 1307, an Armenian church complex was built in Guangzhou. Armenians were among the first to translate the Bible into Chinese. The interactions between the two people were indeed very intense.
Relations between China and Armenia are developing dynamically. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1992. Both sides highly value bilateral cooperation. For example, during Hu Jintao’s leadership of the PRC, he described Armenia as a “trustworthy friend” and called for a further expansion of bilateral political, economic, and cultural ties. According to Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, development of relations with China is one of the republic’s foreign policy priorities.
The manufacturing industry and its various branches represent one of the main areas of cooperation between the two countries. Shanxi-Nairit, a joint venture for the manufacture of chloroprene rubber, is a major project in this sphere. The Shanxi-Nairit joint venture was established on the basis of a contract between the Nairit plant in Yerevan and China’s Shanxi Synthetic Rubber Group Co. Ltd., signed in 2003. The share of the Armenian side in the enterprise amounts to 40%. The plant’s annual capacity reaches 30,000 tons, $220 million has been invested in its construction, and the enterprise’s annual income is estimated at $100 million.
China is also participating in a number of different energy projects in Armenia, such as the reconstruction and repair of thermoelectric power plants. One such project is in the Armenian capital and another is located in the city of Hrazdan, where the Chinese side is carrying out 80% of the repair and reconstruction work on the fifth power-generating unit of the Hrazdan thermoelectric power plant. A corresponding agreement was signed between China’s HPCC-3 Company and Armenia’s ArmRosGazprom in 2008. After reconstruction, the natural gas-operated turbine will generate up to 440 MW of electricity—more electricity than what Armenia’s Metsamor nuclear power plant produces.
China has also expressed an interest in participating in a very important geopolitical transportation project: the building of a railway that will link Armenia with the Iranian ports on the Persian Gulf. This project was discussed at a meeting between the presidents of Armenia and China in May 2010. Some Chinese investors, such as the China Communications Construction Company (CCCC), have already announced their readiness to finance 60 percent of this ambitious $3 billion project. Keeping in mind Iran’s developed transportation network, this railway will give Armenia access to the Central Asian markets, as well as to Pakistan, India, China, and the ASEAN countries. Likewise, China will also gain additional access to the Caucasus.
Private Chinese businesses are also gaining a foothold in the Armenian economy. In 2010, 41 enterprises with Chinese capital were registered in Armenia. Their main activities include: wholesale trading in foodstuffs, beverages, cigarettes, textiles and footwear; retail trading in medication, medical supplies, cosmetics, and accessories; the manufacture of household electrical appliances and clothing, and the restaurant business.
Relations between the two countries are also developing dynamically in the sphere of public diplomacy and educational cooperation. It is worth noting that it was in Armenia that the first Confucius Institute in the Caucasus was opened. In 2011, Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi, who was in Armenia on an official visit, highly rated the role of this institution in popularizing Chinese language and culture. Among the largest projects in the educational sphere of Armenia will be the opening of a school dedicated to in-depth study of the Chinese language.
Armenia and the PRC also cooperate in the defense sphere. Armenian Defense Minister, Seyran Ohanyan, has called China a trustworthy partner and friend. China sells Armenia modern weaponry as well, such as Chinese WM-80 multiple rocket launchers.
How well Chinese-Armenian relations are developing can be clearly seen by taking a look at the indices of foreign economic turnover between the two countries. In 2000, the total amount of bilateral trade reached $5.98 million, mainly in exports, and at that time China occupied 22nd place in Armenia’s export balance. Yet by 2009, the trade volume between the two countries reached almost $302.5 million, exceeding the 2000 index more than 50-fold. In 2013, the volume of bilateral trade constituted almost $430 million and China, with its 7.6% in total volume of Armenian foreign trade, maintained its position as Armenia’s second largest trading partner for four consecutive years, lagging only behind Russia. Such growth dynamics were not seen with any of Armenia’s other foreign trading partners.
Diplomatic relations between China and Georgia were established on June 9, 1992. Besides interactions on the national level, Chinese-Georgian relations have also developed at the municipal and regional levels. In 2007, a memorandum on mutual cooperation was signed between the cities of Rustavi and Harbin. This was followed by a November 2008 agreement on cooperation signed between the Georgian region of Kakheti and the Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region. And yet another similar document was also signed in November 2009 between the Georgian city of Poti and China’s Qingdao.
The transportation industry holds special promise as a point of cooperation between the two countries. Some sources indicate that the PRC is showing an interest in the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project, although no specific steps have been taken thus far. In 2010, the China Sino-Hydro Corporation and China Railway 23rd Bureau Group won an international tender organized by the Georgian side for reconstructing the Rikoti Tunnel, a strategically vital transportation junction connecting East and West Georgia, as well as for building a railway that bypasses Tbilisi, which is also an important project for Georgia’s transportation development and security. The cost of this railway alone amounts to $353.5 million and envisages building a 30-kilometer stretch, as well as bridges, tunnels, and other structures.
Hydropower infrastructure has been another avenue for cooperation between the two countries. The Khadori Hydropower Plant, with a capacity of 24 MW on the Pankisi River, is one such example. China’s Sichuan Electric Power Import and Export Company built this hydropower plant. Construction began in 2001 and was finished in November 2004. The Khadori Hydropower Plant is the largest hydropower plant built in Georgia since it declared its independence.
China and Georgia are also developing areas of educational and cultural cooperation. At the end of November 2010, the Confucius Institute opened in Georgia. The Georgian-Chinese Silk Road Cultural Center, founded in 1992, also plays an important role in developing bilateral cultural relations. Intellectuals from different fields who are interested in Chinese culture gather at the center. The center’s main purpose is to develop and intensify cultural and economic relations between the two countries.
The development of Chinese-Georgian relations is very much reflected in the foreign trade turnover between the two countries. In 2000, the trade volume between the PRC (including Hong Kong) and Georgia amounted to $4.1 million, growing exponentially by 2009 to almost $213.2 million. In 2013, the volume of bilateral trade between Georgia and China surpassed $597 million, thus exceeding the 2000 figure more than 145 times. None of Georgia’s other foreign trading partners demonstrated such growth dynamics.
In the future, such positive trade growth is likely to increase even further. The November 2010 visit of former Georgian Prime Minister, Nika Gilauri, to China was particularly important in this context. At their meetings with the Chinese leadership, members of the Georgian delegation made several economic proposals. For example, Tbilisi proposed expanding and modernizing the sea port of Poti, implementing several large hydropower projects, and opening a branch of the China Development Bank in Georgia. There have also been active steps to facilitate additional flows of capital and resources between the two countries. During his visit, the Georgian Prime Minister said that China’s interest in Georgia is much greater than was presumed and emphasized that his country expected potential investments amounting to $500 million from China and India in the next few years. During his tenure, former Georgian President Saakashvili was even more optimistic, expecting such investment to reach about $600 million. Georgia also proposed establishing direct air communication between the two countries by transforming the Tbilisi International Airport into a transit hub for the air communication system connecting China and Europe. It will soon become clear whether these efforts will translate into closer economic relations.
As in Azerbaijan, there is also a Chinese demographic presence in Georgia. For example, there are many Chinese workers, shops, and restaurants in the cities of Batumi and Kobuleti, located in the Autonomous Republic of Ajaria. Conversations with ordinary Georgians in different places in Ajaria generate an overall view that they see Chinese workers to be unpretentious, hardworking, and inexpensive to employ, receiving around $90 per month as salary, which makes them serious competitors on the local labor market. As for the number of Chinese migrants in Georgia, data is variable and sometimes contradictory, with the number reported between 1,000 and 5,000 people. The Chinese are engaged in various fields, especially in trade. There are 600 Chinese shops all over Georgia, both in the capital and in other towns.
Concerns about the Chinese demographic presence in Georgia also exist. A real estate project carried out by the Chinese Hualing Group on the outskirts of Tbilisi has generated significant controversy in the Georgia. It was reported that the Chinese side planned to bring more than 127,000 Chinese workers to stay in Tbilisi while carrying out planned activities. For its part, the Hualing Group denied such plans, stating that out of 659 employees engaged in the project, 531 are ethnic Georgians. Interestingly, Georgian poll data show that around 60 percent of Georgians opt for doing business with China, while 80 percent are against mixed marriages with the Chinese.
The Southern Caucasus, with its unresolved conflicts and serious contradictions, remains one of the more geopolitically complex regions. China is trying to distance itself as much as possible from such political problems, primarily from issues revolving around the settlement of regional conflicts. Beijing’s position on the topic is practically neutral. While its official statements call for the peaceful settlement of all existing problems, China concurrently establishes relations with the so-called unrecognized states of the Southern Caucasus. However, these relations only revolve around economic and cultural issues, and are conducted exclusively by the private sector, thus minimizing any possible undesirable geopolitical consequences for China.
Relations between China and Abkhazia are still very much in the nascent stage, but recent trends suggest that economic relations might improve significantly in the future. China’s share in Abkhazian foreign trade is very small, constituting a mere 1 percent of the total foreign trade volume of Abkhazia. However, the Chinese private sector has shown increasing interest shown in doing business in Abkhazia. According to a local news website, a group of Chinese businessmen visited Abkhazia in 2007 to explore its economic potential, tax system, and privileges afforded to foreign investors. The group consisted of representatives of agricultural circles, ports and infrastructure, and construction businesses.
In May 2011, the chambers of commerce of Abkhazia and Hong Kong signed a memorandum of understanding, which was an important step in laying the foundation for further cooperation. In October 2011, a delegation from the Abkhazia Chamber of Commerce visited the Guangzhou Canton fair, where it presented business projects and propounded the importance of Chinese goods to the Abkhaz market. It is a telling observation that the Abkhazian Chamber of Commerce has a Chinese version of its official website.
In February 2014, another Chinese delegation visited Abkhazia and held negotiations with the Chamber of Commerce. The Chinese side expressed special interest in gerontology and establishing cooperation with Abkhazia in this direction. China and Abkhazia also discussed possible athletic cooperation during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, when the Abkhazian delegation visited the Chinese Olympic village in Sochi and held talks with the Chinese minister of sports and head of the Chinese Olympic committee.
This budding relationship is also reflected in the limited diplomatic ties established between China and Abkhazia. Abkhazia has an Honorary Consul in Beijing who is a lobbyist working for the Beijing Asia-European Continent Information Consulting Co. Ltd. as well as with the Russian foreign ministry. The Abkhazian foreign ministry also has a post of special envoy in the Asia-Pacific region.
Relations between Nagorno Karabakh and China are also developing predominantly in the economic sphere and are established through private companies. The main spheres of cooperation are construction, stone processing, and hydro energy. The Karabakh side in particular has purchased Chinese turbines for several hydro-electric plants constructed recently in Nagorno Karabakh.
Still, the PRC is not the biggest trading partner of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. In 2010, the Chinese share in Karabakh’s exports was only 0.4%, and in imports, 3.6%. However, the dynamics of bilateral trade development paints a quite different picture. Prior to 2005, there was no bilateral trade between China and the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. That year, the volume of the first bilateral trade constituted $41,100. In 2008, bilateral trade grew to $164,000, and by 2011 it had reached $1.28 million. Though the volume of bilateral trade dipped in 2012 to $828,000, the trend is one of positive growth. To some extent, the development of Karabakh-Chinese ties is influenced by Armenia-Chinese ties. For example, because of the non-recognized status of the Nagorno Karabakh Republic, Karabakh businessmen use Armenian passports for international travel. However, this impact is only the technical side of the relationship. China develops business while not going deeper into politics.
All of these developments are prerequisites for further development of Karabakh-China relations.
As to relations between China and South Ossetia, the latter became the first unrecognized state of the Southern Caucasus with which the PRC had official contacts, albeit of a humanitarian nature. In August 2008, China sent humanitarian aid to South Ossetia to help it overcome the consequences of the conflict with Georgia.
North Ossetia plays a special role in the development of South Ossetian-Chinese relations. For example, an agreement between North Ossetia and the Sichuan province of China to found a joint Russian-Chinese light industry park in South Ossetia is expected to help create around 1,000 new jobs in South Ossetia.
Conclusion: China’s Cluster Approach in the Caucasus and its Strategic Implications
Given the interest in China’s global strategy, this case study raises the question: Is this economic cooperation part of a larger state strategy to establish influence in the region, or just an initiative of Chinese private or state companies purely pursuing economic benefits?
Faced with a relatively opaque political system and foreign policy strategy, we are forced to question whether the Chinese economy can be entirely separated from politics, and more particularly, from geopolitics. The fact that the Chinese economy is a quasi-market economy where economic entities pursue economic benefits makes establishing economic relationships abroad—and their political consequences—inevitable. Rather than hindering this reality, China creates favorable conditions to develop economic cooperation abroad, which suit its economic and political imperatives. From an economic perspective, this boosts its national economy, strengthens its export capacity, and increases China’s image as a market economy. And these economic factors influence the political realm as well; the strengthening of political positions is a corollary to the strengthening of economic ones.
Part of China’s “cluster approach” is a strategy that seeks to establish regional political influence through economic influence. In line with its philosophy of enhancing cooperation and avoiding regional conflict, China has been adept at striking a fine balance between different sets of rivals while establishing economic relationships. Given the complex geopolitical context, we would expect that Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan would object to Chinese collaboration with disputed territories. Yet, there has been little opposition from these states.
There are two main reasons for this phenomenon. First, the officially recognized states consider economic cooperation with China to be much more beneficial than terminating economic ties with the PRC because of its cooperation with the region’s non-recognized states. The second reason is the factor of Taiwan. The Taiwanese factor is very important because Beijing uses it shrewdly to establish and develop relations with all of the regional entities—recognized or not—while adroitly circumventing the rivalries and problems between them. The crux of the matter is that Georgia and Azerbaijan cannot complain about Chinese economic cooperation with the non-recognized states that have seceded from them, because they themselves have very active economic interactions with Taiwan.
For example, between 2000 and 2010, trade turnover between Georgia and Taiwan increased twentyfold. By this indicator, Taiwan was second only to China. From 2005 to 2013, the volume of bilateral trade between Georgia and Taiwan increased more than 5 times. As regards to Azerbaijan, between 1995 and 2010, the volume of bilateral trade between Baku and Taipei increased over 3,000 times. Between 2005 and 2013, it increased more than 234 times. When it comes to trade with Taiwan, this is a growth record that has not been surpassed by any other country so far.
Against this background, it is clear that neither Azerbaijan nor Georgia could express dissatisfaction about cooperation between Chinese businesses and the non-recognized states. Likewise, Beijing is not worried about Georgia and Azerbaijan’s economic cooperation with Taiwan. They are not great powers and therefore their cooperation with Taiwan does not pose a threat to China. Regardless, these states’ cooperation with Taiwan surely gives Beijing a certain political indulgence when it cooperates with the non-recognized states.
The Southern Caucasus is a region where China’s “cluster approach” has proven successful. Through a nearly exclusive focus on economic relations and a delicate balance of private and public actions, China has been able to navigate the complex geopolitical conflicts in the region. Moreover, China seems to have been able to leverage on its own issues with Taiwan to force regional actors to compromise. All these developments point toward an increasingly nuanced and sophisticated Chinese foreign policy within the region.
The Chinese presence in the South Caucasus is not only of interest to those within the South Caucasus, but also to those outside it. Moscow’s acquiescence of China’s growing presence in a region where Russia has long been the dominant great power is indicative of the importance Russia places on having a positive relationship with China. This dynamic could be noted in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s remarks connected with events in Crimea, in which Putin thanked China for its comprehensive understanding of history and politics in relation to Russian policy. His comment was a conspicuous reflection of China’s importance not only in world politics, but also in the Greater Caucasian and Black Sea-Azov region.
China is working hard to deepen and expand its relations with the South Caucasus region. Recent events involving Ukraine and Crimea, which are adjacent regions to the Caucasus, mark intensifying competition between the West and Russia. These developments may further boost China’s interest in the South Caucasus and give new impetus to its activities.
About the Author
 See, for example, Babayan David, Politika Kitaya v Centralnoy Azii, na Kavkaze i v Severnom Prikaspii v konce XX- nachale XXI vv., Moskva, Institut Vostokovedeniya Rossiyskoy akademii nauk, 2013, pp.137-139.
 Ibid, p.138.
 On that matter see in particular Dougin A., Osnovy geopolitiki, Мoskva, 1997. pp. 434, 435; Pastoukhov Yevgeny, “Novyi Iran,” Kontinent, N6(44), Almaty, 2001; “Turkish prime minister’s ‘genocide’ remarks anger China,” People’s Daily, http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90776/90883/6703527.html, July 17, 2009. “Etnicheskaya kompozitsiya Irana: Ot Ariyskogo prostora do Azerbaydzhanskogo mifa,” Karavan, journal of Cultural Representation under the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iranian in the Russian Federation, N19, 2013, pp. 27, 28; Oubokhov I., “Ekspansiya pantyurkizma v Sredney Azii: Turtsiya vs Rossiya,” CA-News, https://en.ca-news.org/news:1121179, August 18, 2014; Ganiyev T., “Regionalnaya politika Irana na postsovetskom prostranstve,” http://www.csef.ru/index.php/ru/politica-i-geopolitica/project/484-iran-yesterday-today-and-tomorrow/1-stati/4207-regionalnaya-politika-irana-na-postsovetskom-prostranstve, Tsentr Strategicheskikh Otsenok i Prognozov, August 31, 2014.
 See, for example, Wright, Robin, “Iran’s New Alliance With China Could Cost U.S. Leverage,” The Washington Post, November 17, 2004, p. A21; “China calls for new security pact with Russia, Iran,” CBS News, http://www.cbsnews.com/news/china-calls-for-new-security-pact-with-russia-iran/, May 21, 2014; “Iran-Russia-China alliance US nightmare: Academic,” Press TV, http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/05/22/363702/us-fears-iranrussiachina-alliance/, May 22, 2014; “President Rouhani calls for expansion of all-out ties with China,” IRNA, http://www.irna.ir/en/News/2716019/Politic/President_Rouhani_calls_for_expansion_of_all-out_ties_with_China, May 22, 2014; “Tehran, Beijing can play significant role to restore stability of the region,” IRNA, http://www.irna.ir/en/News/2720562/Politic/Tehran,_Beijing_can_play_significant_role_to_restore_stability_of_the_region, July 7, 2014.
 For more details see “State Visit of President of the Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev to the People’s Republic of China,” Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the People’s Republic of China, http://www.azerbembassy.org.cn/eng/Prezident.htm, March 17, 2005.
 “China oil giants join hands for Caspian Sea oil field,” People’s Daily, http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90776/90882/6900258.html, February 23, 2010.
 “Azerbaidzhanskaia TES v ianvare-aprele utroila obiom vyrabotki elektroenergii,” Interfax-Azerbaijan, http://www.interfax.az/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=64646&Itemid=9, May 12, 2010.
 “Chinese company repairs Mingechevir cascade,” Contact.az, http://www.azcontact.com/topics_en.asp?id=4800&pb=5&vr=en&yr=2010&mn=12&day=6&pg=2&cl=1&cmpg=1&cmcl=1&sbpg=1&sbcl=1&srch=0&ms=NaN&clnd=0&mdn=1, December 6, 2010.
 “V BGU otkrylsya institut Konfuciya,” 1News.az, http://www.1news.az/society/20110422044852871.html, , April 22, 2011.
 Подробнее см. “China, Azerbaijan to boost ties in education,” Xinhua, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2012-07/14/c_131715284.htm, July 13, 2012; “Azherbaijan i Kitai budut sotrudnichat v sfere obrazovaniya,” Day.az, http://news.day.az/society/343735.html, July 13, 2012.
 See, for example, “China, Azerbaijan pledge to strengthen military ties,” Xinhua, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2010-10/27/c_13576733.htm, October 26, 2010; “Chinese, Azerbaijani military officials meet,” Xinhua, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2010-10/29/c_13581999.htm, October 29, 2010.
 See External economic activities, Turnover by countries 2006-2010, The State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan, http://www.azstat.org/statinfo/consumermarket/en/ext_t.shtml, accessed March 14, 2011.
 Statistical Yearbook of Azerbaijan 2008, Foreign economic activity, The State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan, http://www.azstat.org/publications/yearbook/SYA2008/Pdf/25.pdf.
 “China, Azerbaijan record rapid growth of trade,” Xinhua, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/business/2013-04/19/c_132321028.htm, April 18, 2013.
 Suleimanov Rashad, “Azerbaijan: Crackdown on Foreign Workers,” Institute for War & Peace Reporting, http://iwpr.net/report-news/azerbaijan-crackdown-foreign-workers, September 28, 2007.
 Mammadli Sabuhi, “Azerbaijan: Tensions Over Chinese Influx. Azeris angry about the arrival of illegal workers at a time when they are struggling to find jobs,” Institute for War & Peace Reporting, http://iwpr.net/report-news/azerbaijan-tensions-over-chinese-influx, October 1, 2010.
 Mammadli Sabuhi, “Azerbaijan: Tensions Over Chinese Influx. Azeris angry about the arrival of illegal workers at a time when they are struggling to find jobs,” op.cit.
 Bayramly Elchin, “V Azerbaidzhane zhe meditsinskogo kontrolya pribyvayushikh net,” op.cit.
 See, for example, Ter-Mkrtchyan L., “Armyane v Kitaye” XI nauchnaya konferenciya “Obshestvo i gosudarstvo v Kitaye,” Tezisy I doklady Chats II, Moskva, 1980; Bakhchinyan A., “Armyanskaya tserkovnaya zhizn Kharbina,” Istoriko-filologicheskii zhurnal, tom 1, Erevan, 2009; Minasyan I., Минасян И., “Kitaisko-armyanskie kontakty,” Nauchno-obrazovatelnyi fond Noravank, http://noravank.am/rus/articles/detail.php?ELEMENT_ID=6379, March 29, 2012.
 See, for example, Movses Khorenatsi, Istoriya Armenii, translated from ancient Armenian by Gagik Sarkisyan, Yerevan, “Hayastan,” 1990, pp.126, 127.
 For more detailed information about the history of Armenian diaspora in China see, in particular, Hay spyurk hanragitaran (Armenian Diaspora Encyclopedia) in Armenian, Yerevan, Armenian Encyclopedia Publishing House, 2003, p.438.
 Ibid., p.439.
 “Chinese Leader Wants Closer Ties With ‘Friendly’ Armenia,” Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, http://www.rferl.org/content/Chinese_Leader_Wants_Closer_Ties_With_Friendly_Armenia/2031447.html, May 3, 2010.
 “In the framework of his visit to the People’s Republic of China President Sargsyan met with the President of the People’s Republic of China Hu Jintao,” Official Website of the President of the Republic of Armenia, http://www.president.am/en/press-release/item/2010/05/02/news-996/, May 2, 2010.
 “Prezident Armenii otkryl v Kitaye zavod po proizvodstvu kauchuka,” RIA-Novosti, http://www.rian.ru/economy/20100504/230325032.html, May 4, 2010.
 “Armenia economy: Energy sector–the new growth driver,” ViewsVire, http://www.eiu.com/index.asp?layout=VWArticleVW3&article_id=1704034955®ion_id=&country_id=870000287&channel_id=190004019&category_id=500004050&refm=vwCat&page_title=Article&rf=0, November 11, 2008.
 “Chinese Investors Show Interest in Armenia-Iran Railway,” Asbarez Armenian News, http://asbarez.com/119740/chinese-investors-show-interest-in-armenia-iran-railway/, February 19, 2014.
 “Armeniya I Kitay rassmatrivayut vozmozhnost sozdaniya SP po pererabotke bazalta,” ARKA, http://www.arka.am/rus/economy/2010/09/21/21507.html, September 21, 2010.
 “The meeting of the Armenian and Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministers,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, http://www.mfa.am/en/press-releases/item/2011/02/17/china_mfa/, February 17, 2011.
 “Armenian students to study in China,” Xinhua, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2012-07/28/c_131745181.htm, July 28, 2012.
 “The RA Minister of Defence Receives the Ambassador of the PRC to the RA,” Official website of the Defense Ministry of the Republic of Armenia, http://www.mil.am/eng/?page=2&p=3&id=1296&y=2010&m=08&d=22, April 20, 2010.
 See: “Eksport i import Respubliki Armenii po stranam,” Statisticheskii ezhegodnik Armenii 2001, Natsionalnaya statisticheskaya sluzhba Respubliki Armenii, Erevan, 2001, Table 337.
 Statisticheskii ezhegodnik Armenii 2010, Natsionalnaya statisticheskaya sluzhba Respubliki Armenii, Erevan, 2010, pp. 483-485.
 Socialno-economicheskoye polozheniye Respubliki Armeniya v yanvare-dekabre 2013 goda, Natsionalnaya statisticheskaya sluzhba Respubliki Armenii, Erevan, 2014, pp.116-117.
 For more details see “Relations between Georgia and the People’s Republic of China,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, http://www.mfa.gov.ge/index.php?sec_id=381&lang_id=ENG, accessed June 12, 2010.
 “Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway Project Draws China’s Interest,” Georgian Business Week, http://www.gbw.ge/news.aspx?sid=b0d41470-6f73-4ba0-b565-fd618eb8b776, December 8, 2008.
 For more details about the projects Chen Runyun, “Mutual benefit & common development: Economic and commercial cooperation between China and Georgia,” Chinese Business in Georgia 2010, special magazine, 2010, p.9; “Rikotskii tonnel zakryt na remont,” Novosti-Gruziya, http://newsgeorgia.ru/economy/20100608/213252253.html, June 8, 2010; “Tbilisi Railway Bypass Project, Georgia,” Railway Technology, http://www.railway-technology.com/projects/tbilisirailwaybypass/ accessed November 23, 2010.
 “Dams Built by Chinese Companies and Financiers,” International Rivers, http://www.internationalrivers.org/files/ChineseOverseasDams0409.xls; April 13, 2009; “China dams overseas,” Energy Probe Research Institution, http://eprf.probeinternational.org/node/8501, September 6, 2010; “The Khadori hydro power plant was built and commissioned with the participation of Chinese capital in 2004,” Georgia Investment Guide, http://www.investmentguide.ge/print_version.php?sec_id=45&lang_id=ENG; “China” hydropower plant in Kakheti, Chinese Business in Georgia 2010, special magazine, pp.14-15.
 “Georgia opens its Confucius Institute,” Xinhua, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/culture/2010-11/27/c_13624282.htm, November 26, 2010.
 For more detailed information about the center see “Georgian-Chinese Cultural Center “Silk Road,” Chinese Business in Georgia 2010, special magazine, pp.96-97.
 For more detail, see: Statistical Yearbook of Georgia 2006, Department of Statistics under Ministry of Economic Development of Georgia, Tbilisi, 2007, pp. 273-281; External Trade, National Statistics Office of Georgia, available at [www.geostat.ge/index.php?action=page&p_id=137&lang=eng].
 External Trade Tendencies of Georgia in 2013, National Statistics Office of Georgia, Tbilisi, January 2014, p.5.
 For more details see, for example, “Prime Minister’s visit to China and India,” Official Website of the Government of Georgia, http://www.government.gov.ge/index.php?lang_id=ENG&sec_id=187&info_id=31506, accessed December 23, 2010; Patsuria Nino, “Georgian Prime Minister touts Chinese and Indian investor to invest in Georgia,” The Weekly Georgian Journal, http://georgianjournal.ge/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=963:georgian-prime-minister-touts-chinese-and-indian-investor-to-invest-in-georgia&catid=4:economy&Itemid=6, November 3, 2010; Edilashvili Nino, “Georgia seeks partnerships in China and India,” Georgia Today, http://www.georgiatoday.ge/article_details.php?id=8437, November 12, 2010; “Georgian PM hopes to boost co-op with China,” Xinhua, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/indepth/2010-10/28/c_13579218.htm, October 27, 2010; “Georgian PM Visits China, India,” Georgia Update, Weekly Edition, A publication of the Government of Georgia, October 28, 2010, p.2.
 Edilashvili Nino, “Georgia seeks partnerships in China and India,” Georgia Today, op.cit.
 Georgia update, Weekly Edition, A publication of the Government of Georgia, November 4, 2010, p.1.
 Edilashvili Nino, “Georgia seeks partnerships in China and India,” Georgia Today, op.cit.
 The author obtained this information during conversations with Chinese migrants, local dwellers, and policemen of the Kobuleti city from August 20 to 25, 2011.
 See, for example, Jiayi Zhou, Chinese in Georgia, The European Centre for Minority Issues Working Paper, N54, January 2012, pp.3, 14.
 Jiayi Zhou, Chinese in Georgia, op.cit., pp.10-11.
 Korso Molli, “Gruziya: Kitaiskie investicii kak proverka predelov gruzinskogo gostepriimstva,” op.cit.
 “Tamozhennaya statistika vneshnei torgovli,” State Customs Committee of the Republic of Abkhazia, http://www.customsra.org/customs_statistics_of_foreign_trade/, accessed May 5, 2013.
 “Chinese Businessmen Interested in Abkhazia,” The Georgian Times, http://www.geotimes.ge/index.php?m=home&newsid=3983, April 18, 2007.
 “Kitai rassmatrivaet Abkhaziyu kak samostoyatelnogo igroka v Zakavkazye,” Official Website of the President of the Republic of Abkhazia, http://www.abkhaziagov.org/president/press/inosmi/2014-02-17, February 16, 2014.
 “Kitai rassmatrivaet Abkhaziyu kak samostoyatelnogo igroka v Zakavkazye”, Official Website of the President of the Republic of Abkhazia, op.cit.
 For more details see “Honorary Consuls,” Official website of the Republic of Abkhazia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, http://mfaapsny.org/policy/councils.php#, accessed March 8, 2014; Official website of the Beijing Asia-European Continent Information Consulting Co. Ltd., http://www.aeci.com.cn/russian/showmember.asp?id=15, accessed March 2, 2014.
 A corresponding report was broadcast by the Nagorno Karabagh Public TV at 17:08 local time on April 12, 2012.
 Socioeconomic Development of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic in January-December 2010, National Statistical Service of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic, Stepanakert, 2011, p.82.
 Fore more details see Statistical Yearbook of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic 2003-2009, National Statistical Service of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic, Stepanakert, 2010, pp. 303-304.
 Socioeconomic Development of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic in January-December 2011, National Statistical Service of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic, Stepanakert, 2012, p.74.
 Socioeconomic Development of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic in January-December 2012, National Statistical Service of the Nagorno Karabagh Republic, Stepanakert, 2013, p.83-84.
 “Kitay pomozhet Yuzhnoi Osetii,” Novaya Politika, http://www.novopol.ru/-kitay-pomojet-yujnoy-osetii-text50463.html, August 22, 2008.
 “Sergey Sanakoev: Kitaiskie investitsii v Severnuyu Osetitiya pomogut sozdat okolo tysyachi rabochikh mest v RYuO,” Osinform News Agency, http://osinform.ru/17787-sergej-sanakoev-kitajskie-investicii-v-severnuyu.html, November 12, 2009.
 For more details see, for example, Statistical yearbook of Georgia 2006, Department of Statistics under Ministry of Economic Development of Georgia, Tbilisi, 2007, pp.273-281; National Statistics Office of Georgia, External Trade, http://www.geostat.ge/index.php?action=page&p_id=137&lang=eng; External Trade Tendencies of Georgia in 2010, National Statistics Office of Georgia, Tbilisi, 2011, pp. 4, 14-16.
 External Trade of Georgia 2005, Ministry for Economic Development of Georgia Department for Statistics, Tbilisi, 2006, pp.16, 21; External Trade Tendencies of Georgia in 2013, National Statistics Office of Georgia (Geostat), Tbilisi, 2014, p.16.
 “Turnover by countries,” The State Statistical Committee of the Republic of Azerbaijan, http://www.stat.gov.az/source/trade/en/f_trade/xten2.xls, accessed July 31, 2014.