Armenia—The First edition of the Armenia and China Forum, which was dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, took place in Yerevan. The conference was organized by the China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research in partnership with World Socialism Institute, Renmin University of China. It was supported by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Armenia. In his welcoming speech, Dr. Mher Sahakyan, the founder of the Armenia and China Forum, director of the China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research, announced about the creation of annual Armenia and China Forum, where Armenian and Chinese scholars and diplomats will introduce their research and recommendations for improving bilateral relations.
In his opening remarks Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the PRC to Armenia, Fan Yong welcomed the establishment of Armenia and China Forum by the China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research. He noted, that after the establishment of diplomatic affairs, both countries created trustful relations and supported each other on an international level. He noted that China is the second trade partner of Armenia and sides supported each other and strengthened economic cooperation during the outbreak of COVID-19 as well. Ambassador Fan emphasized the importance of developing relations in the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.
In turn, former Prime Minister of Armenia, Dr. Prof. Armen Darbinyan, mentioned that historically Armenia played an important role in trade relations between East and the West. He expressed hope that Armenia will be able to regain the mediator’s role between different players of Eastern and Western parts of Eurasia by the help of developing infrastructure. He also noted, that as a Rector of the Russian-Armenian University he gives great importance to the development of Chinese studies at the university, where many students study Chinese language with great enthusiasm.
General Secretary of the Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation Commission of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Ms. Wei Zheng, noted: “We see that in 30 years a whole generation has grown up committed to deepening friendship between China and Armenia and plays an important role in the social development of the two countries. No matter how the international situation changes, we always understand, respect and support each other”.
In turn Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Armenia, Dr. Artur Martirosyan. presented the wide range of existing programs of Armenian-Chinese cooperation, which includes student exchange programs, cooperation in educational, scientific and technical spheres. As he mentioned, the Armenian students, who came back from China contribute to develop the Armenian economy.
Dr. Robert Ghazaryan, Director of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the National Academy of Sciences, emphasized the importance of cooperation between China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research and Institute of Oriental Studies in the field of academic diplomacy. As he mentioned these efforts are serving for the developing scientific relations between scholars of Armenia and China.
Director of the World Socialism Institute, Renmin University of China Dr. Yun-tian Zheng mentioned: “While COVID-19 disrupts regular field trips and offline conferences, people-to-people exchanges between our two countries have never come to a halt. So far, we’ve managed to hold a number of online events. For the year of 2021 only, we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the foundation of CPC, the publication of our book, China and Eurasia: Rethinking Cooperation and Contradictions in the Era of Changing World Order, and the 3rd China- Eurasia conference was held. Through these activities, our friendship continues to grow and prosper”.
The following panels of the conference followed the opening ceremony:
The first panel was entitled “Armenian-Chinese Relations in a Changing World Order” where Dr. Bin Ma (Deputy dean of the Center for SCO Studies, Fudan University), delivered his speech on “The Role of Sino-Armenian Relations in the New Eurasian Regional Order”. The speech of Dr. Mher Sahakyan was titled, “Armenian-Chinese Relations in Multiplex Eurasian Order: Thoughts and Recommendations”. In his speech, Dr. Yun-tian Zheng emphasized the importance of strengthening cultural and social communication between China and Armenia in the changing era. Dr. Ruben Elamiryan (Chairperson of the Department of World Politics and International Relations of Russian-Armenian University) introduced the opportunities and challenges of the Sino-Armenian relations in a changing environment. This panel was moderated by Mr. Sebastian Contin Trillo-Figueroa (Asia Global Fellow, University of Hong Kong).
The second panel was named “Chinese and Armenian Cooperation in the Framework of Belt and Road Initiative”, where Dr. Song Lilei (Tongji University), spoke about the importance of starting cooperation between China and Armenia under the Belt and Road Initiative. In turn, Dr. Anahit Parzyan (China-Eurasia Council for Political and Strategic Research) spoke about the opportunities of cooperation between Armenia and China in the framework of Digital Silk Road. Dr. Liu Xu (Executive Director of Center for International Energy and Environment Strategy Studies, Renmin University of China) introduced his research on perspecitves of China-Armenia cooperation in energy sphere. The advisor to the Ministry of Economy of Republic of Armenia, Dr. Nare Haroyan spoke about the potential of developing trade between Armenia and China. Dr. Sun Chao’s (Jiangsu Administration Institute) speech was entitled “Sino-Armenia Relations and Regional Security, Cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.” Dr. Anna Zalinyan (Author of the book The Peculiarities of Public Administration of the Republic of Armenia and the People’s Republic of China. 2020) introduced her research on sustainable economic cooperation between Armenia and China in a changing world. Second panel was moderated by Dr. Yun-tian Zheng.
Among honorable guests of the conference were Ambassador of Kazakhstan in Armenia, Mr. Bolat Imanbaev, Head of the National Defence Research University, General Major Genadi Tavaratsyan, Chargé d’affaires of embassy of Serbia, Mr. Zoran Marinkovic, Councilor of the PRC Embassy in Armenia, Mr. Chen Ming, Councilor of the Embassy of Kazakhstan, Mr. Almaz Azhibaev, Counsellor of the Embassy of of Bulgaria, Mr. Vencislav Hristov, Premier secrétaire at Embassy of France, Mr. Eric Debenath, Deputy head of mission of Embassy of Iraq in Armenia, Mr. Methaq Rashad Zabar, head of the Institute of the law and politics (RAU), Dr. Marianna Kalashyan, Head of the Center for regional strategic analysis (INSS, NDRU), Dr. Davit Manasyan, Head of the Institut Tchobanian, Mr. Varujan Sirapian, Third Secretary of the Embassy of Russia to Armenia, Mrs. Natalia Viktorova, other scholars, diplomats and journalists.