“We advocate for Equality, Democracy and Harmony”
29 May, 2014
“We advocate for Equality, Democracy and Harmony”
Interview with the Ambassador of China to Georgia

The Silk Road has been uniting Georgia and China since ancient times. Georgian Journal spoke with Bin Yue, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to Georgia. He came last September and, reportedly, has very quickly fallen in love with our country.
G.J: Georgia and China have always had some historical and economic links. What are the main priorities for you?
B.Y: The ancient Silk Road, built
as early as in the 2nd century BC, was the fruit of the wisdom of the people from China and of the countries along the route. This ancient road played a significant part in promoting friendship between the people residing along it, and enhanced trade and economic relations and cultural exchanges between the countries. The stone city of Uplistsikhe located along the Silk Road, is a witness of the foundation of traditional friendship between the Chinese and Georgian people.
The tradition of friendship between our countries has a long history. China was one of the first countries to recognize the independence of Georgia and to establish diplomatic ties with it. China and Georgia have maintained stable and healthy bilateral relations throughout these 20 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations. Mutual political trust continues to deepen, the results of the trade-economic co-operation are remarkable, and cultural exchanges become more and more active day by day. China is the fifth largest trade partner of Georgia at the moment. The bilateral trade turnover has increased from USD 3.86 million to USD 914 million (according to last year’s Chinese statistics) since the establishment of diplomatic ties, increasing 248 times compared to the data of 1992. Over the years, China has provided Georgia with over USD 500 million of non-reimbursable aid to assist with the national development and economic construction. Looking ahead, China and Georgia are both developing countries on an important stage of economic development and improvement of people’s livelihood. In my opinion, both sides should focus on strengthening co-operation in the following areas, and these are also the main priorities during my mission:
The current level of trade-economic co-operation between China and Georgia is not very high, and the bilateral trade volume is small. I hope and believe that with the gradual improvement of Georgia’s social stability and investment environment, there will be new opportunities for developing bilateral practical co-operation. More and more Chinese companies will invest in Georgia. I also hope that more Georgian wine, mineral water and other quality products will find their way to the Chinese market.
Deepening cultural exchanges also stands in the spotlight. According to an old Chinese saying, “state-to-state relations thrive when there is friendship between the peoples.” China and Georgia both have rich cultural traditions. Our countries have a vast potential for co-operation in exchanging cultural and art performing groups, publishing literature, cinematography and other areas. The Chinese side encourages its domestic cultural institutions to establish co-operation with their Georgian counterparts. There is a big room for developing co-operation in the field of education as well.
Georgia has beautiful landscapes, splendid culture and art, hospitable people, and its excellent wines and food culture makes it even more attractive. Shortly, Georgia has rich tourism resources. The Chinese side attaches great importance to the development of tourism co-operation with Georgia and as a result, has granted it the status of overseas tourist destination. Opening a direct flight between Urumqi and Tbilisi and signing the Agreement on Tourism Co-operation, have provided an impetus for strengthening tourism co-operation between our countries. Last year, more than 100 million Chinese people traveled abroad, over half of them were tourists. If even a small part of these tourists were to come to Georgia, it would boost the tourism development and bring benefits to the Georgian economy. Meanwhile, China’s unique customs, ancient history, culture, art and its modern development attracts a lot of tourists from all over the world. I hope that more Georgian tourists will visit China in the future.
Last year, the president of China, Mr. Xi Jinping proposed the strategic concept of the “Silk Road economic belt.” The main idea of this concept is to improve policy communication between the countries along the belt, strengthen road connections, trade facilitation, currency circulation and people-to-people relations. The belt aims to strengthen economic and cultural co-operation in order to achieve common development. Georgia was a part of the ancient Silk Road and it is also greatly interested in this strategic concept. The shortest and fastest connecting line between China and Europe lies through Central Asia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. I believe that Georgia will definitely play a unique part in building the “Silk Road economic belt,” providing incentives for further development of bilateral relations.
G.J: China is a picturesque country with an ancient school of philosophy. Does Chinese wisdom help you in everyday life and at your work?
B.Y: China has a territory of 9.6 million square kilometers, a population of over 1.3 billion and a civilization of over 5000 years old. China has beautiful rivers and mountains and ancient history. The world’s four great inventions: papermaking, movable type printing, compass and gunpowder were all created in China, which played a significant role in the development of world civilization. The Great Wall, the Terracotta Army and the Forbidden City are world-renowned monuments. China’s long history and culture produced unique schools of philosophy as well. China’s classical philosophy, especially Confucianism, which by 5-6 century BC was already a fully formed system, gave the world a valuable spiritual inheritance, and plays an important role at my work and in my everyday life as well.
My first philosophy in life is to stick close to the golden means, which means leading an appropriate lifestyle, not going to extremes and maintaining balance. This is the principle I uphold at work. This is the source of China’s independent and peaceful foreign policy too. China has always been against extremism, hegemonies and power politics. We advocate for equality, democracy and harmony in the world.
Second, harmony is better and is in diversity. China is a peaceful country. Being a Chinese diplomat, one of my main tasks is to promote friendship between countries and maintain world peace. China always respects the independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty of other countries and the path of their development chosen in accordance with their national conditions.
Third, keep forging ahead. Confucianism teaches us about playing an active role in public affairs. The highest goal of a person should be that in success. A person should review his behavior several times a day. No one is perfect, but we should constantly try to improve ourselves, to contribute for the benefit of our country and people. Therefore, I often review myself, I make higher demands from myself to improve my nature, abilities and mental ground.
G.J: The Chinese people have a very healthy lifestyle. Please, reveal a little bit of your Chinese recipe for happiness.
B.Y: Chinese people’s healthy lifestyle comes from their food. The Chinese cuisine is one of the most representative elements of Chinese culture. Written records show that the Chinese already had a food culture and culinary skills as early as in 11th century B.C. The Chinese cuisine is rich and our dishes are diverse. It pays attention to “color, aroma, taste and appearance.” It is one of the most popular cuisines in the world. Chinese doctors take “food treatment” very seriously. They can restore health through daily diet. The ancient Chinese medicine has documented the food that is good for health. Therefore, Chinese people’s health and their nutrition are closely linked.
One of the keys to the Chinese happiness is the food culture. An old Chinese saying goes: “food is the paramount necessity of the people.” As long as a person is not hungry, his mood will be good and he will live a happy life. Besides, the Chinese traditions not only teach us how to improve ourselves, but to be optimistic, find peace of mind and enjoy life to the fullest.
G.J: What can you say about the Georgian culture?
B.Y: I was in charge of the South Caucasus region at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and I had some knowledge of Georgia’s rich cultural heritage even then. After I came to work here, I started to read about Georgian history and culture extensively and visited some historical sites as well, which helped me to have a better understanding of history and culture of Georgia. Like China, Georgian civilization has a long history. Rustaveli’s poetry and Pirosmani’s paintings hold an important place in the world’s art history. Georgian traditional polyphonic singing and toe dancing are famous all over the world, especially dance performances by men, the so-called “Georgian ballet.” I have watched performances of Sukhishvili, Erisioni, Rustavi and other state level ensembles and was deeply impressed by the beauty of traditional Georgian singing and dancing. Georgia’s wine culture is marvelous as well. There are more than 520 species of grape in Georgia and the history of wine-making is 6000-7000 years old. It is said the word “wine” was originated from the Georgian language. During the Shanghai World Expo 2010, the Georgian pavilion chose wine as the main theme which reflects the Georgian people’s love towards grapes and wine. I’ve heard that the outline of the Georgian alphabet was also inspired by the grape-vine. In my opinion, wine is not just a drink for Georgians. It has become a part of people’s flesh and soul, it is a national symbol of Georgia.



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PHOTO OF THE DAY
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