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Azerbaijan and China to further deepen co-op in future – political analyst

BAKU: Significant strides have been made in enhancing bilateral relations with China, a pivotal component of Azerbaijan's foreign policy, bolstered by the strong and trusting relationship between President Ilham Aliyev and Chinese leader Xi Jinping, political analyst Azer Garayev told Trend. According to him, the Chinese leader's early congratulations to President Ilham Aliyev on his last presidential election demonstrate the established friendly relations between the two countries. President Ilham Aliyev's participation in the second 'One Belt, One Road' International Cooperation Forum at Xi Jinping's invitation in April 2019 and their meeting at the SCO Summit in September 2022 in Samarkand further underline the significance of these relations. The joint declaration adopted in Astana on establishing strategic partnership relations between the two countries elevates Azerbaijan-China relations to a level of strategic partnership. "Azerbaijan upholds the 'One China' principle and supports China's positions i n the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. This stance led Azerbaijan to be among the first countries to condemn Taiwan's so-called election and declare their non-recognition. China serves as Azerbaijan's largest source of imports and ranks among the country's top five trade partners. In 2023, bilateral trade between Azerbaijan and China totaled $3.1 billion. Over 300 Chinese companies are active in Azerbaijan across sectors such as industry, agriculture, construction, trade, transportation, and services. China has invested $930.8 million in Azerbaijan, while Azerbaijani investments in China amounted to $263.3 million," he said. Garayev highlighted Azerbaijan's early support for China's Belt and Road Initiative and the close cooperation it has established within this framework. Azerbaijan's substantial investments in developing the Middle Corridor infrastructure have positioned it as a crucial participant in this initiative. The Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, known as the M iddle Corridor, has emerged as the most efficient and secure route for transporting goods between China and Europe, resulting in an 88 percent increase in cargo traffic to 2 million tons in the first nine months of 2023. "With the commissioning of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad, the delivery time for cargo from China to Trkiye has been reduced from 1 month to 12 days, and from China to Western European countries via Trkiye to just 18 days. Azerbaijan and China are also successfully expanding their cooperation in the energy sector. Collaboration with BYD Company Limited includes the production of electric motor buses, with plans to deliver 160 BYD buses and 100 electric chargers to Azerbaijan during COP29 in November 2024. Local bus production is scheduled to commence in 2025," he noted. The political scientist added that cooperation between cities and regions of Azerbaijan and China is also being strengthened. "Friendly relations are flourishing between Baku and Sichuan province, Ganja and Qingdao city, a nd Sumgayit, Xi'an, and Mianyang cities. The Heydar Aliyev Foundation drives cultural and humanitarian exchanges between Azerbaijan and China through various projects. Cooperation in science and education thrives with a department of Azerbaijani language at Beijing Foreign Studies University and successful Confucius institutes at Azerbaijani higher educational institutions. Meetings between President Ilham Aliyev and Chinese leader Xi Jinping are expected to deepen cooperation across all sectors and intensify mutual contacts, elevating Azerbaijani-Chinese relations to a qualitatively new level," the expert emphasized. Source: Trend News Agency