Georgian Deputy Prime Minister Dimitri Kumsishvili speaks during an interview with Xinhua on May 8, 2017. (Xinhua/Li Ming)
TBILISI, May 8 (Xinhua) -- The Belt and Road Initiative is very important and Georgia is willing to team up with China to contribute to the initiative, Georgian Deputy Prime Minister Dimitri Kumsishvili told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on Monday.
Hailing the Belt and Road Initiative as "a great philosophy," Kumsishvili said it will "promote regional connectivity, enhance human exchanges and expand trade and investment."
"As an important post along the ancient Silk Road, Georgia considers it very important to revive the Silk Road in the future," Kumsishvili noted, stressing that Georgia is now upgrading its infrastructure nationwide to build it into a transportation hub for Asia and Europe with the financial help of the international financial institutions including Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
The Vice Prime Minister spoke highly of the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China, vowing that his country will actively participate in it and make the contribution to push forward the project.
"We consider ourselves part of the Belt and Road Initiative," said Kumsishvili, adding that Georgia will benefit from the initiative together with other partners in the region.As for the upcoming Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, Kumsishvili said it will definitely push forward the international cooperation and promote common prosperity.
"Together with other delegates, Georgia will exchange views on how to enhance connectivity, facilitate trade and investment, promote people-to-people exchanges and expand cooperation in other fields on the Forum," said the Vice Prime Minister, adding that he firmly believes that many interesting ideas on international cooperation will be put forward and benefit all participants on the Forum.
For the current Georgia-China relations, Kumsishvili said the 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries has witnessed tremendous progress in all fields of the bilateral ties.
"Bilateral relations have entered the best period in history, which can be illustrated by the China-Georgia Free Trade Agreement to be signed next week at the sideline of the Forum in Beijing," said Kumsishvili, adding that the negotiations of the agreement was finished only in seven month, unprecedented fast in Georgia's history.
"With the support of the governments, both sides have witnessed frequent exchange of high level visits and continuously deepened mutual political trust in recent years," said Kumsishvili.
Georgia has become a reliable partner for China in the region, added the Vice Prime Minister.
The Vice Prime Minister also hailed China's growing participation in Georgia's economic development in recent years, saying China is one of the most important trade and investment partner for the Caucasus country.
"We see the Free Trade Agreement to be signed as a demonstration that Georgia is open to the Chinese people and the Chinese enterprises in the future," Kumsishvili pointed out.
"We will avail this opportunity of attending the Forum to send a message again to our Chinese friends that Georgia is a trusted partner for China to promote One Belt One Road initiative, which will benefit all the countries along the Silk Road," Kumsishvili said.
Kumsishvili, who is also the Finance Minister of Georgia, has been invited to the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to take place from May 14 to May 15 in Beijing.