CHINA-ARMENIA: EXPERTS SAY NEW SILK ROAD PROGRAM CAN HAVE STRATEGIC IMPORTANCE FOR YEREVAN

ANALYSIS | 31.03.15 | 11:15

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan during his visit to China.

By GAYANE MKRTCHYAN
ArmeniaNow reporter

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Looking East: Armenian leader on landmark visit to China

The new start in Armenia-China relations is considered to be the
result of new politics of the Armenian diplomacy: Yerevan started
looking not only toward Europe, but also toward the East, which was
marked by the Armenian president's visit to China, analysts say.

It is believed that official Beijing is also trying to take neutral
steps in the South Caucasus not interfering much in the internal
affairs of those countries.

According to Naira Lazarian, an expert at the Hayatsk center of
applied politics and research analysis, China does not single out
any South Caucasian nation, which is a strategy of that country in
the region.

"From Azerbaijan China needs only energy resources, and China makes
investments in that field. Georgia is interesting to China in terms of
its transit potential, i.e. China carries out a policy of developing
infrastructures - construction, railways, restoration of highways,
and a new flight was launched. Armenia interests China in terms of
its scientific potential; the Chinese understand that Armenians have
good skills in the scientific field. The first Chinese school in the
region was opened in Armenia," Lazarian said.

On March 24-28, President Serzh Sargsyan was in China on a state
visit. A dozen documents were signed during the visit, including a
joint declaration about "Further development of friendly relations
and cooperation between Armenia and China".

Addressing the documents regarding economic cooperation, Lazarian
said that the Chinese side encourages and supports its entrepreneurs to
make investments in Armenia and to establish businesses in the fields
of agriculture, transport, energy, communication, health; this speaks
of the fact that China sees Armenia as a trustworthy economic partner.

New Times party chairman Aram Karapetyan also addressed the question
of Armenia-China relations, saying that China has serious intentions
in regards with Armenian electricity networks and they will try to
invest in the field of thermal power plants (TPP).

"I'll be very glad if that comes true. I think that China will still
bring forward numerous questions. China will long look at our region
through Iranian eyes. The matter is that it's been four years already
that a closed group of specialists and officials dealing with serious
external politics functions in China, they run a coordinated policy,"
Karapetyan said.

The Chinese Silk Road program promotes the creation of a joint economic
zone which will include railway junctures and other infrastructures,
as well as oil and gas pipelines, electric power lines, internet
hubs and airways in all of Eurasia. Being part of this initiative
only opens up new prospects not only for Armenia, but also for the
entire region, analysts believe.

"Armenia has chosen the Eurasian integration path and in this sense
the Silk Road is a completely compatible economic process and might
have a strategic meaning for our country," Lazarian said.

She emphasized President Sargsyan's speech at the Boao Forum for 2015
Asia Annual Conference, saying that it is important for Armenia both in
the sense of becoming known and in the sense of finding new partners,
and participating in new mutually profitable initiatives.

"The topic of this year's forum was "Asia's New Future: Towards a
Community of Common Destiny". It is a big event not only for the
Asian region but also for the whole world. Not in vein it is called
"Asian Davos", the expert of eastern studies said. "The project of
the Silk Road was discussed at the forum; within the project China
is planning to build a developed network of roads.

Armenia for centuries was an important section of the Silk Road,
and in the 21st century on the borderline of Europe and Asia it can
restore that role."

The economic zone of the Silk Road is the Chinese initiative, and
the Chinese president announced about that in 2013. More than 60
countries have expressed their desire to join the project.

http://armenianow.com/commentary/analysis/61904/armenia_china_relations_europe



From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress