China ready to cooperate with Azerbaijan in transport sector

By Aynur Karimova

China, which is the second largest economy in the world and initiator of the revival of the historical Silk Road, has expressed readiness to expand the cooperation with Azerbaijan in the development of transportation corridors.

This was voiced by China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi during a meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov, who is on a working visit to China, on March 14.

Mammadyarov, speaking at the meeting, said Baku supports the Silk Road Economic Belt, adding that Azerbaijan is an important part of East-West and North-South transportation corridors.

The minister added that Azerbaijan’s transit opportunities will expand after commissioning the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway.

Further, the minister briefed Wang Yi about the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and said that this conflict is the main threat to peace and stability in the region.

"Azerbaijan and China support the territorial integrity, sovereignty and internationally recognized borders of each other," Mammadyarov stated.

Relations between Azerbaijan and China enjoy a long history. Thanks to Azerbaijan's advantageous geographical situation, the country was a natural crossing point on the way from East to West and North to South and was one of the main trade, transport and cultural centers on the Great Silk Road.

The multibillion-dollar Silk Road project, initiated by President Xi Jinping in 2013 with an aim to connect China with Europe and strengthen cooperation between Asia and Africa, creates additional opportunities for cooperation between the two countries.

Today, Azerbaijan and China, which established the diplomatic relations in 1992, strongly support each other on issues related to the vital interests and major concerns.

Azerbaijan and China opened a new page in their relations after President Ilham Aliyev's visit to China in December 2015, during which cooperation in all sectors were high on the agenda.

The two countries voiced intention to protect mutual interests and deepen fruitful cooperation, providing stable and safe conditions for the successful and sustainable development. President Aliyev's China visit resulted with signing of 10 documents.

Energy industry, particularly alternative energy sources, as well as tourism and agriculture are the main areas of cooperation between China and Azerbaijan.

China entered the list of the top ten trade partners of Azerbaijan. The country’s investment in the economy of Azerbaijan has reached $300 million since 2002.

The Azerbaijani State Customs Committee reports that the trade turnover with China reached $565.1 million last year, while its unit weight in the total trade turnover of Azerbaijan amounted to 2.74 percent. In late 2015, China ranked ninth in the list of the largest trade partners of Azerbaijan.

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Aynur Karimova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Aynur_Karimova

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