Chinese President Xi and Georgian Prime Minister Garibashvili were delighted to meet in person in Chengdu City of Sichuan Province.
"China has always regarded Georgia as a good friend and partner. No matter how the international situation changes, China is firmly determined to develop its relations with Georgia," President Xi Jinping said. "We should make joint efforts to push for better development of China-Georgia strategic partnership at a new strategic point, provide impetus for the rejuvenation of the development of both countries and contribute positive energy to the progress of human civilisation."
"This is a historic visit for me... Georgia considerably values friendship and partnership with China. And I'm grateful to your decision to elevate our relationship to the strategic partnership, which I believe will bring concrete results, beneficial for both of us," Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili stated during the meeting with the Chinese President.
In 2017, China signed a free trade agreement with Georgia that came into force in January 2018. Under the free trade regime, Georgia imposed zero tariffs on 96.6 per cent of imports from Chinese, and in return got zero Chinese tariffs on 93.8pc of its imports from Georgia. China is Georgia's major export destination, accounting for $736.8 million in goods sales in 2022, according to the National Statistics Office of Georgia.
Georgia, as a transcontinental country at the intersection of eastern Europe and western Asia, is host to part of the Trans Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline connecting Azerbaijan's Caspian gas fields to Turkiye and Europe. Therefore, China aims to develop a 'Belt and Road' network of trade and energy links, considering friendly Georgian state as the volatile overland route between Europe and Asia.
While the heads of the two historically friendly countries elevate bilateral relations to a new level, the 31-year diplomatic ties between China and Georgia moves not only to a higher strategic partnership but cultural and scientific collaboration, too.
Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili arrived in Chengdu, capital city of southwest China's Sichuan Province, on 26 July 2023. Apart from his official visit to China and meeting with President Xi Jinping, the head of Georgia attends the opening ceremony of the 31st summer edition of the FISU World University Games.
On Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan hosted a welcoming banquet for the heads of states. Proposing a toast at the beginning of the banquet, President Xi said: "On behalf of the Chinese government and people, and in the name of my wife and myself, firstly, I would like to express a very warm welcome to all our distinguished guests!"