Tuesday, 05 July 2022

Nino Kemoklidze*

China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Opportunities and Challenges for Georgia

Full text PDF [EN]

Suggested citation:

Kemoklidze, N. (2021). China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Opportunities and Challenges for Georgia. Lex Portus, (7)2, 64-105. https://doi.org/10.26886/2524-101X.7.2.2021.4

*University of Chichester (College Lane, Chichester, PO19 6PE, United Kingdom).



The article explores China’s growing presence and activities in Georgia and its present and potential geopolitical implications. Its aim is to contribute to the better understanding of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and its impact on the socio-political and economic security in Georgia as well as wider Caucasus region more generally. The article highlights Georgia’s role in the BRI as a land and maritime “bridge”. It examines in some depth the role of the Trans-Caspian route – the so-called Middle Corridor and its constituting Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway in the future development of the BRI and Georgia’s involvement in it as a “logistics hub” connecting Asia and Europe. The article also explores the prospects of the Deep-Water Port Project in the Black Sea town of Anaklia in Georgia and why it has not materialised yet. It touches upon the conflicting interests of Russia, Turkey and the US and how geopolitics influences economic calculations of the project. The article is largely based on a desk research conducted in summer and autumn 2020 and utilises both secondary and primary sources in its analysis. Online interviews and author’s communication with the Georgian government officials, Embassy representatives, experts in the field, Georgian exchange students in China and others connected to Chinese companies in Georgia have also been used in the analysis presented in the article. The article shows how despite increased Chinese involvement in Georgia more generally, China’s interest in the development of the economically, and possibly politically strategic for Georgia “Middle Corridor” route remains rather lukewarm. However, as the article tries to demonstrate, this should not prevent Georgia to pursue its ambitious plan of becoming a connecting land and maritime hub in the region. China is undoubtedly an important player in Asia and beyond, but it is not the only player.

The key words: Belt and Road Initiative, China-Georgia relations, “Middle Corridor”, Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, Anaklia port.



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Editorial Board Address

Ukraine, Odesa, Fontanska Doroga, 23
National University “Odessa Academy of Law”,
Department of Maritime and Customs Law