Zhang Xiyun

Former Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of Azerbaijan

Although there is a significant distance between China and Azerbaijan from a geographical point of view, mutual connention and relations of cooperation have existed between our countries for almost two thousand years. Today’s relations are also based on historical traditions. If we look at modern history, we will see that back in the 1950s and 1960s, representatives of the two countries, including famous artists exchanged visits. The concerts of the well-known singer Rashid Behbudov were highly admired in China. During the Second World War, many Azerbaijanis fought against the common enemy on Chinese soil. During the founding years of the People’s Republic of China, many Azerbaijani economists, engineers, and specialists worked in our country. All this brought us closer and contributes to our relationship today.

The President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev has a special merit in the development of relations between Baku and Beijing. Mr. Heydar Aliyev enjoys a great reputation among the Chinese people. Back in the 1980s, when Heydar Aliyev served as the First Deputy Premier of the Soviet Union, he was one of the first Soviet leaders to try to normalize relations with China, despite it being a different era. Even after returning to power in Azerbaijan, he always paid special attention to relations with China.

In March 1994, President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliyev made a historic visit to China. The visit was extremely fruitful, 7 documents on bilateral relations were signed. Till now, the number of documents signed on political, economic, and other matters exceeds 30. This creates a very favorable legal basis for the development of cooperation.

   There is mutual understanding between our peoples and countries on matters of national interests. First of all, it is the principle of respect for each country’s choice. The second is the issue of independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of both countries. We recognize Azerbaijan’s support for China’s position on the Taiwan issue and other areas, and we highly appreciate it. We are trying to provide the same support to Azerbaijan. Thirdly, very good relations have been established between the leaders of the two countries. Mutual visits were organized at different levels. All this allows us to talk about significant successes in political relations. In accordance with the instructions of our leaders, we will try to further develop relations.

   I would like to mention one nuance. In May, a serious situation arose in China due to the spread of the SARS virus. At that time, the telegram of Mr. Heydar Aliyev caused a great resonance among our population, and we felt that the Azerbaijanis were also with us. In sum, President Heydar Aliyev made a great contribution to the development of Chinese-Azerbaijani relations.