President Aliyev: Development of ties with China among key foreign policy priorities of Azerbaijan
By Laman Ismayilova
The state of Azerbaijan attaches great importance to developing its relationship with the People`s Republic of China, said President Ilham Aliyev.
The president made the remark at his meeting with a Chinese delegation led by Zhang Gaoli, member of the Standing Committee of Central Politburo of the Communist Party of the People's Republic of China, Senior Vice Premier of the State Council in Baku on June 1, Azertac reported.
Welcoming the guests in Azerbaijan, President Aliyev expressed his confidence that this visit would contribute to the development of friendly ties and cooperation between the two countries.
Recalling his state visit to China that took place in 2015, President Aliyev underlined the significance of the talks held and documents signed during the visit for the future cooperation.
Emphasizing that Azerbaijan and China enjoy excellent political ties, the President pointed to the development of the bilateral cooperation in economic, humanitarian, energy, transport and other areas.
The head of state described the visit of the Chinese delegation as another step toward the expansion of the friendly ties.
Zhang Gaoli, for his part, said that prior to heading to Baku he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who extended his best regards and greetings to the Azerbaijani head of state.
“Xi Jinping regarded Azerbaijan as an important and friendly country for China,” he added.
The official went on to say that he was deeply impressed by development processes taking place in Baku and the city`s beauty since the first minutes of his arrival. Zang Gaoli said that under President Aliyev`s leadership Azerbaijan was rapidly developing and the people`s well-being was being improved.
President Aliyev described the fact that high-level Chinese delegations had visited Azerbaijan in a short space of time as a good indicator of the bilateral ties, adding that the development of relations with China was among key foreign policy priorities of Azerbaijan.
“Azerbaijan considered a dialogue partner status granted by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization as the first step toward full integration into the organization,” the president said adding that cooperation with this organization occupied an important place in Azerbaijan`s foreign policy.
President Aliyev further reminded that Azerbaijan puts a special emphasis on its cooperation with China in combating terrorism and extremism.
The head of state expressed Azerbaijan`s interest in working with China to create and develop the Silk Road infrastructure. The President said Azerbaijan was ready to play a vital transit role in the transportation of Chinese products to Europe and vice versa.
"Work continues to build the railway in the country, the largest sea trade port in the Caspian basin, and to establish a free economic zone here. Azerbaijan is interested in Chinese companies` active involvement in this process,” President Aliyev said.
The head of state said Azerbaijan welcomed the Chinese investments made in different areas of economy.
Reminding that Chinese firms were successfully involved in Azerbaijan`s construction sector, he underlined the existence of good potential for cooperation in the fields of tourism, culture, energy, transport, high technologies, agriculture, communication and information technologies, and others.
President Ilham Aliyev congratulated China on its strides in a variety of areas.
Azerbaijan and China opened a new page in their relations after President Ilham Aliyev visited China in December 2015. During the visit, several meetings, negotiations were held and 10 documents were signed. Cooperation issues almost in all spheres were discussed.
China is a huge opportunity and a priority market for Azerbaijan. More than 50 agreements were signed between the two countries so far. Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO) has recently opened a representative office in China to support and encourage relations between the two countries’ businessmen, as well as expand Azerbaijani goods export to the Chinese market and attract China's leading investment funds to the Azerbaijan economy.
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, according to the Azerbaijani State Customs Committee.
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