China, Azerbaijan sign deals on Silk Road cooperation

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China and Azerbaijan on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt.

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) holds a welcoming ceremony for Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev before their talks in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 10, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) holds a welcoming ceremony for Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev before their talks in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 10, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

"The signing of the MOU shows that the substantial cooperation between the two countries has entered into a new stage," Chinese President Xi Jinping told his Azeri counterpart Ilham Aliyev in talks.

The two presidents also signed a joint statement on developing friendly relations of cooperation, and witnessed the signing of a series of deals in areas including trade, the judiciary, civil aviation, education, transportation and energy.

Speaking highly of Azerbaijan's support to China's Belt and Road initiative, Xi said China is ready to strengthen communication on policies with Azerbaijan and integrate both sides' development strategies.

The Belt and Road refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

Xi said the two countries could seek cooperation on big projects on energy, communication and infrastructure. China is willing to enhance the bilateral financial and transportation cooperation, and expand exchanges between the two countries' parliaments, social organizations, youth groups and media so as to promote mutual understanding, he said.

He also called on the two countries to strengthen cooperation in law enforcement and security.

Hailing the friendship between Azerbaijan and China and the rapid development of bilateral ties in recent years, Aliyev said the signing of the agreements will promote the in-depth development of bilateral relations.

Calling China's development "positive impetus" to the world, Aliyev said Azerbaijan is pleased to see China realize its development strategy.

Azerbaijan supports China's Belt and Road initiative and would like to participate, he said.

Also on Thursday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang met with Aliyev.

Li said both China and Azerbaijan have entered into a key stage of social and economic development. China would like to better integrate development strategy with Azerbaijan, further explore cooperation on areas including the economy, trade and energy, he said.

He also called for cooperation on production capability and infrastructure construction, and further enhance people-to-people exchange and cooperation on education, tourism and culture.

Li said the Chinese government encourages capable Chinese enterprises to invest in Azerbaijan and hopes Azerbaijan can better facilitate Chinese personnel visits to the country.

Regarding China "a close friend of Azerbaijan," Aliyev said his country is willing to beef up all-round cooperation with China to the greatest extent, welcome Chinese enterprises' investment, setting up factories and participation into the development of infrastructure construction, industrial parks and energy in Azerbaijan.

With regard to international issues, Xi said the two countries share similar stance on many international and regional issues.

China is ready to strengthen communication with Azerbaijan and their coordination within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia to promote a more fair and rational development of the international order, he said.

Aliyev spoke highly of the role played by China in global affairs and vowed to strengthen cooperation with China within international organizations.

China's top legislator Zhang Dejiang also met with Aliyev on Thursday, pledging to strengthen parliamentary exchanges with Azerbaijan and create a sound legal environment for bilateral cooperation and people's exchanges.

Aliyev arrived in Xi'an, capital of northwestern China's Shaanxi Province Tuesday night, starting a four-day visit to China at the invitation of Xi.

During his stay in China, Aliyev visited a heavy-duty special vehicle company in Xi'an, and Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei's Beijing center. He will deliver a speech in China Renmin University on Friday and receive a honorary doctorate degree in history there before wrapping up his visit.

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