BEIJING (ArmeniaNow and Public Radio of Armenia) — Many experts describe the current state visit of Armenian President Serge Sargisian to China as “historical” and a “breakthrough” in the relations between the two countries.
China has become an alternative direction for Armenia as the Russia-West standoff has aggravated. Despite the fact that China in many cases supports the position of Moscow, Beijing is also engaged in quite active dialogue with Washington and many call China a “third pole.”
According to official information, China has agreed to provide a preferential interstate credit to Armenia, and it is possible that this allocation will be in Chinese yuans. However, nothing has yet been reported on the possible volume of the credit, but private reactions of Armenian officials are evidence that Armenia will get significant investments.
Yerevan, in fact, has officially declared its joining the Chinese Silk Road Project. It is within this project that China will allocate money for the construction of a North-South highway that will connect Georgia and Iran through Armenia.
The matter also concerns the intention to invest in the construction of an Iran-Armenia railway, as well as in the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Armenia.
These are the largest Armenian projects that Russia had promised it would take part in, but in fact torpedoed them. Despite the fact that there had also been offers from France and the United States to invest in the construction of a new nuclear reactor in Armenia, Yerevan, under apparent Russian pressure, had to refuse to cooperate with the West in the nuclear sphere. But it is unlikely that Russia will obstruct Armenian-Chinese agreements in this field as relations with Beijing are extremely dear to Moscow at present.
The joint Armenian-Chinese declaration signed by President Sargisian and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jiping earlier this week contains a line that says “… to continue cooperation in the military sphere,” including military assistance. China has already provided some types of weapons to Armenia before, and this, military experts say, has helped restore Armenia’s military balance with Azerbaijan, which is actively buying weapons from Russia.
Experts point out another major agreement on cooperation in the tourism sector. The consent of the Chinese leadership to include Armenia in the list of current tours for Chinese travelers is a major incentive for the development of tourism in Armenia.
In the afternoon of March 26, 2015, Premier Li Keqiang met at the Great Hall of the People with Sargisian, who had come to China to pay a state visit and attend the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2015.
Sargisian said that the two peoples of Armenia and China have enjoyed long-lasting friendship for generations. Since the establishment of the diplomatic relationship, the two countries have witnessed increasingly deepened political mutual trust and constantly promoted friendly cooperative relations, and have become important political, economic and trade partners of each other. Armenia is willing to work with China to deeply explore the potentials for bilateral economic and trade cooperation, enhance cooperation in tourism and aviation industry, and expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges so as to promote common development. Armenia welcomes Chinese enterprises to invest in Armenia and participate in construction of infrastructure including highways, nuclear power and electric power as well as cooperation in mining industry, and looks forward to conducting capacity cooperation with China, promoting Armenia’s economic and social development.
The Armenian side expressed its support for China’s policy, and expressed its stance against the independence of Taiwan. Armenia reiterated it would establish no ties with Taiwan, as it sees Taiwan as an integral part of China.
The Chinese party, in turn, expressed its support for the peaceful settlement of the Karabagh conflict on the basis of the basic principles of the UN Charter and the universal norms of international law.