Joint press conference held by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan ‎Heydar Aliyev and chairman of the Standing Committee of the Assembly of the ‎People Representatives of China Li Peng - June 23, 2000‎

Heydar Aliyev: Distinguished Mr. Li Peng!

Distinguished guests and friends from the People's Republic of China! 

I wellcome you once more. I want to tell the press that we held a very good meeting today. We first met tête-à-tête, then with the participation of the delegations. Yesterday Mr. Li Peng held a number of meetings, especially in the parliament, and today we have come here, to you, to answer to the questions of the representatives of the media. Three questions have been planned, ask whoever you want.

Question: Distinguished Mr. Li Peng, my question is to you. How do you appreciate the current situation in the relations between Azerbaijan and China, and what do you think about the enlargement and deepening of bilateral contacts.

Li Peng: It is necessary to say that presently the Azerbaijani-Chinese relations are developing in a rising line. Especially since 1994, when the president of your republic, Mr. Heydar Aliyev visited the People's Republic of China and signed various agreements with the PRC chairman Jiang Jheming, a solid basis our bilateral relations were founded. I am firmly confident that my present visit to Azerbaijan will render a new impetus to the development of friendship and cooperation between China and Azerbaijan and raise our bilateral relations to a new level.

Question: Mr. President, we know very well that You have suggested a new proposal on the restoration of the Great Silk Road. Could you talk about the concrete projects between China and Azerbaijan for the revival of the Great Silk Road? Could you briefly describe the prospects of revival of the road?

Heydar Aliyev: That's a good question. Thank you. Really, in the recent years the restoration of the Great Silk Road has become an actual issue for the world community. I don't want to take responsibility and tell that Azerbaijan or another one is the initiator of it. The idea of the restoration of the Great Silk Road appeared in the countries located on the rout of this road in different times, and we among them. An international conference was held in Baku on the restoration of the Great Silk Road in September 1998. It was attended by the delegates from 32 countries, 14 international organizations, as well as China.

I think that the program and diplomacy of the restoration of the Great Silk Road is a grand program of the 21st century. Azerbaijan intends actively participate in the realization of this program having in view its geographical and strategic position and economic demand. In the ancient times, the Great Silk Road was not only a means of trade between the East and the West, but an important means for the exchange of cultural values, for the enrichment from each other culturally.

I think that the Great Silk Road, exactly the program of the revival of the Great Silk Road can be realized in the 21st century. It is impossible to imagine the Great Silk Road without China. If Azerbaijan is in the middle of this road, then Chine is at the beginning of it. But Japan, which is the neighbor of China, is also interested in the Great Silk Road. It is clear that the former Prime Minister of Japan Mr. Ryutaro Hashimoto was supporting this program some years ago, and during my visit to Japan in 1998, we discussed this issue with him and other Japanese leadership. In brief, this program requires close participation of the interested states. I think that the active cooperation between Japan and Azerbaijan can strongly contribute to the realization of the Great Silk road program. Are there any questions else?

Question: Recently a dialogue started between South Korea and North Korea. Is such a dialogue possible between China and Taiwan as well, based on the same model?

Li Peng: Excuse me, which agency do you represent?

Answer: I am from Reuters.

Li Peng: Then I am not surprised at your question. Of course, we approve the meeting between the People's Republic of Korea and Republic of Korea, because such a meeting assists the establishment of peace and security in the Korean peninsula. Chine needs peace and stability in the Korean Peninsula too. What concerns relationship between China and Taiwan, that is quite a different issue. Taiwan is born as an inseparable part of Chine. Taiwan was occupied by the Japanese later, and after the Second World War all the occupied Chinese territories by Japan, as well as Taiwan had to be returned to China according to the Cairo declaration and other international documents. That is why Taiwan is an inseparable part of China and China does not want the intereference of other countries to this question. China does not consider human rights prior to the state sovereignty, otherwise think of it as a theory of interference to the domestic affairs of other countries.

Taking this position as a principal, China respects the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan as well. The UN Security Council resolutions were adopted concerning this issue and we are hopeful that they will be fulfilled. And China is greatly thankful to the Azerbaijani side and Mr. President Aliyev for supporting the principle of the united China.

Heydar Aliyev: Yes, we do support the principle of the united Chine today, too. Thank you.

"Azerbaijan" newspaper, June 24, 2000

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Azerbaijan - Asia

Historical backgrounds

Azerbaijan - Asia