Implementation of significant transport projects has strengthened the Chinese government’s interest in Azerbaijan, Farid Shafiyev, chairman of the board of Azerbaijan’s Center for Analysis of International Relations, told Trend Oct. 9.
Shafiyev noted that after China proposed the One Belt One Road initiative in 2013, the scale of its economic and political ties began to expand.
Shafiyev added that China’s interest in the countries of the South Caucasus has also increased.
“Azerbaijan’s leading position in the region, stable economic and political situation in the country attracted China’s attention, because this is an important factor in the implementation of the One Belt One Road initiative,” Shafiyev said. “Azerbaijan’s friendly relations with all the strong states of the region and the successful implementation of balanced policy also increased the country’s attractiveness for China.”
Shafiyev reminded that the stage of rapid development of Azerbaijani-Chinese relations began after the official visit of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to China in 2015.
“As part of this visit, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the two countries regarding the creation of the Silk Road Economic Belt, which formed the basis to strengthen Azerbaijan’s strategic and economic position within the One Belt One Road initiative and its early implementation,” Shafiyev said. “Azerbaijan also became one of the founders of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank created in 2015 on China’s initiative. This bank is the first multisphere financial institution created by the Chinese side to implement infrastructure projects in Asia."
"Azerbaijan’s major investments in transport infrastructure in the subsequent years and implementation of a number of significant transport projects have further strengthened the interest of the Chinese government in Azerbaijan, because these projects created shorter and cheaper alternative routes for cargo transportation in the East-West, the West-East directions within the One Belt One Road initiative. One of the important projects implemented by the Azerbaijani side was the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, which was opened in 2017,” he added.
Shafiyev went on to say: “In 2018, the opening of the Baku International Sea Trade Port in Alat settlement took place. These two projects form the basis of the One Belt One Road route branch passing through the South Caucasus. The opening of the new port allows for the transshipment of goods transported from the eastern direction and their delivery via the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway to Georgia, Turkey, Europe and vice versa in a short time.”
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