By Leman Mammadova
Currently, relations between Azerbaijan and China are developing in all directions, close cooperation continues on international and regional level.
Relations between the peoples of Azerbaijan and China are based on a long history. The territory of Azerbaijan is located on the ancient Silk Road, one of the important transit zones between the East and the West.
Azerbaijan plays an important role in cargo transportation from China to Europe and in the opposite direction, while the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, which runs through Azerbaijan, perfectly conforms to China’s Belt and Road initiative.
China and Azerbaijan have carried out comprehensive cooperation in the political, economic and cultural spheres, creating a peaceful and stable environment for themselves and neighboring countries. There is still wide space for cooperation between the two countries.
The relations between China and Azerbaijan are increasingly developing, said Mubariz Gurbanli, chairman of Azerbaijan’s State Committee for Work with Religious Organizations, at a conference “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” held in Baku on July 22.
He highlighted the important role of high-level visits and documents signed between the parties in the development of these relations.
“China is one of the first countries to recognize Azerbaijan’s independence. Since the early 1990s, diplomatic relations have been established between China and Azerbaijan. Mutual visits between the two countries contributed to the signing of various documents, on the basis of which bilateral cooperation between the countries is strengthened,” he said.
Gurbanli added that China and Azerbaijan are strategic partners. At the same time, China has always supported the fair position of Azerbaijan regarding the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and this position remains unchanged, he said.
Stressing the importance of friendly relations between Azerbaijan and China, Gurbanli also underlined that common economic interests, the role of both countries in restoration of the historic Silk Road and other factors create the basis for the development of cooperation.
In addition, he noted that the Belt and Road project, initiated by China, also serves the world’s interests.
Song Tao, head of the International Liaison Department of the Communist Party of China, in turn, said that relations between China and Azerbaijan are at a high level.
He stressed that China intends to further develop relations with Azerbaijan.
Song Tao noted that mutual visits between the two countries have an important influence on the development of relations.
He also added that China’s relations with Azerbaijan are increasingly developing.
In his speech, Hikmet Babaoglu, member of the Azerbaijani Parliament’s working group on Azerbaijani-Chinese inter-parliamentary relations, noted the cooperation atmosphere between the two countries.
He stressed that China’s Belt and Road project is a major communication, political, economic, cultural and, finally, revolutionary project.
“Azerbaijan is one of the first countries to support the implementation of this project. Alat International Sea Trade Port will play an important role on the road from China to Europe. The President of the European Union, Donald Tusk, who recently visited Azerbaijan, underlined the importance of the Alat port,” he said.
The MP also noted that the development of relations between Azerbaijan and China meets the interests of both countries.
China announced the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, aimed at creating infrastructure and establishing links among the Eurasian countries back. This Chinese strategy envisages two key areas of development: the economic belt of the Silk Road and the maritime Silk Road. It is related to the creation of trade corridor for direct deliveries of goods from East to West on preferential terms.
Azerbaijan is one of the active participants in the project implementation. The country became a signatory to the Belt and Road Energy Partnership Declaration in October 2018.