By Sara Rajabova
Azerbaijan and China exchanged views on prospects of further cooperation between two sides during the visit of Azerbaijan's foreign minister to China.
Elmar Mammadyarov met member of the State Council of the People's Republic of China Yang Jiechi in Beijing on July 1 to discuss bilateral cooperation, Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry said.
Jiechi hailed the meeting of Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and the Chairman of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the 4th Summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia in Shanghai. He stressed that Azerbaijan was a reliable friend of China.
Jiechi further noted the importance of holding meetings between the foreign ministers of the two countries.
Mammadyarov, in turn, hailed Azerbaijan-China cooperation, noting that the activities of the Intergovernmental Commission on Economic and Trade Cooperation can play a key role in the expansion of economic relations.
He further said Azerbaijan was building its relations with all countries based on the principles of friendship, mutual respect, respect for territorial integrity, sovereignty and internationally recognized borders.
He noted Azerbaijan and China shared the same position on the execution of the resolutions of the UN Security Council.
Jiechi further noted that bilateral relations between the two countries were built on mutual trust.
He said the two countries shared same positions on a number of issues, including respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Jiechi also noted the importance of increasing efforts for further development of the economic and trade relations between Azerbaijan and China, and intensifying relations between their business communities.
Future development of cooperation between Azerbaijan and China were also discussed at a meeting of Mammadyarov and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
Mammadyarov said Azerbaijan is interested in development of the political, economic and humanitarian cooperation and inter-parliamentary relations on the basis of friendly relations.
Noting that China was also interested in developing cooperation with Azerbaijan, Yi, in turn, said, this requires consultations and interchanges between the two countries at all levels and the activities of the intergovernmental commission on economic and trade cooperation.
Mammadyarov further said the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line will create an appropriate opportunity for transporting cargo on the historical Silk Road. Also, speaking about the Trans-Eurasian Information Super Highway (TASIM) project, he said it will be a large-scale information technology network connecting Europe and Asia together.
Recalling the conference on restoration of the Great Silk Road in Baku in 1998, Yi hoped Azerbaijan and China could work together for the prosperity of the Eurasian space.
Talking about the latest state of the negotiation over the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Mammadyarov said withdrawal of all Armenian forces from the occupied Azerbaijani territories is the first step in resolving the conflict.
He stressed the importance of restoration of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Yi, in turn, said China supports Azerbaijan's territorial integrity and sovereignty and stands by the peaceful settlement of the conflict in accordance with the principles of international law and UN resolutions.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict emerged in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Since a lengthy war in the early 1990s that displaced over one million Azerbaijanis, Armenian armed forces have occupied over 20 percent of Azerbaijan's internationally recognized territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions.
The UN Security Council has adopted four resolutions on Armenia's withdrawal from the Azerbaijani territory, but they have not been enforced to this day.
Mammadyarov's visit to China took place on the invitation of Chinese Foreign Minister Yi on June 30 and will end on July 2.