Interview of Trend with the Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary Ambassador of China to Azerbaijan, Chan Khaichzhou
Question: In what spheres would China desire to strengthen the relationships with Azerbaijan? Are there any changes in the priorities of cooperation since the moment of opening of the Japanese embassy in Baku?
Answer: The friendship between China and Azerbaijan has deep roots dating to ancient time and the Great Silk Route testifies for the traditional friendship of the two nations. China attaches great importance to the development of the bilateral relationships with Azerbaijan. China is one of the first countries which recognized the independence and sovereignty of Azerbaijan, established diplomatic relationships with Baku. Since the establishment of the diplomatic relationships with Azerbaijan in 1992, China has been putting every effort for the extension of comprehensive relationships and cooperation on the base of principles of equality, mutual benefits and mutual respect.
In 1994 Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev for the first time paid an official visit to China. During the visit the two countries signed a joint statement on bases of friendly relationships between China and Azerbaijan, as well as over 30 important documents, which laid firm foundation for the development of bilateral relationships. Over the past 10 years the Chinese-Azerbaijani relationships have been deepened. China and Azerbaijan mutually back each others sovereignty and territorial integrity, respect the ways of development their peoples chose in compliance with their specifics and also support close consultations and cooperation on important issues in the international arena. We are friendly partners which can trust in each other.
At present identical realities are being observed in China and Azerbaijan. Both countries are undergoing the transition period and face with serious challenges of economic globalization. Both countries have a heavy task on search of ways of development and achievement of socio-economic progress and prosperity. Continuous deepening of relationships and exchange of experience in different spheres meet both countries interests.
As you know in March 2005 Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev paid an official visit to China. He held vary important meetings and talks with the chairman of the Peoples Republic of China, Khu Tzintao. During the visit both sides signed 13 documents on cooperation in the sphere of politics, economy, science and engineering, trade, culture, sports, tourism, etc., which made comprehensive the further bilateral relationships and gave impetus to continuous cooperation between China and Azerbaijan. At present the embassies and other administrations of the two countries do all possible for cooperation, which constantly deepens the traditional friendship and cooperation of the two countries.
China pursues independent peaceful foreign policy, policy on development of friendship and cooperation with all countries on the base of principles of mutual respect, mutual benefits and mutual equality. The Chinese-Azerbaijani relationships are also firmly based on this immutable base
Question: What is Chinas position in the issue of resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh?
Answer: Mutual respect and support to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of each other is the political basis for the Chinese-Azerbaijani bonds. China decisively supports Azerbaijans efforts directed at maintenance of its sovereignty and territorial integrity. China approaches with understating Azerbaijans concerns in connection with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and sincerely believes that Azerbaijan and Armenia would be able to resolve the conflict based on the UN Charter and Principles, as well as UN Security Council resolutions, and it will finally bring happiness and prosperity to the people of Azerbaijan, as well as the nations of the region..
As a UN Security Council permanent member, China is ready jointly with the world community to make a constructive contribution to the conflict resolution process.
Question: What spheres of Azerbaijani economy are more attractive for Chinese investors? Are the telecommunications and automobile-building sectors among them?
Answer: Azerbaijan is an attractive and new market for Chinese investors. Over the past few years there has been observed boom in economic growth both in China and Azerbaijan. It opens broad opportunities for mutually profitable cooperation. The Chinese government approves and encourages active foreign cooperation of the national enterprises with the foreign companies. Thanks to this policy the Chinese businessmen come to Azerbaijan to seek opportunities for cooperation.
At present the China-Azerbaijan cooperation stepped to a stage of ordinary commercial relationships, while the amount and scale of interaction are expanded in the sphere of new technologies, energy, communications, and service. For instance, Chinese company HUA WEI presented advanced and economical variants of resolutions in the project of reconstruction and modification of fixed telephone networks for Baktelecom and for the first time built Hi-Tec and premium quality NGN (next generation network) in Baku. The company introduced new style of thinking in the communitarians and received approval and recognition by the Azerbaijani counterparts. Over the last year the volume of consumption of the companys products in the Azerbaijani market made up $20m.
Another example is that on 7 March 2006 the South Chinese Air Company opened its permanent passenger flights Urumchi-Baku, will inevitably promote closer exchange of experience between China and Azerbaijan.
In 2005 the amount of goods turnover between the two countries made up $258m, of 40.4% more as compared to 2005. I am sure that further deepening of mutual understating between the entrepreneurs of the two countries will reveal new contacts for cooperation and format of mutual relationships will be further interruptedly expanded and updated.
Question: What is the amount of investing by the Chinese companies in Azerbaijani company and what are the forecasts for 2006?
Answer: In compliance with the Chinese statistics, the total amount of capital investing by the Chinese companies in Azerbaijan is $300m. Chinese enterprises expand their activities on the base of mutual profits and greatly contribute in the development of the Azerbaijani economy. Starting from 2002 a daughter company of Chinese Oil and Gas Corporation in Azerbaijan SNPC started investing in the exploitation of the onshore oil and gas fields. Azerbaijans incomes only from one facility of K & K field comprise $125m. Besides, the company attracted 900 Azerbaijani citizens to its operations in this country. The company also spent $460,000 in charity purposes.
I know that capital investing in the amount of $300m is not so big figure and does not suit the economic development and potential of cooperation between the countries. As far as I know, the Azerbaijani government now is planning to establish special economic zone and is ready to carry out cooperation in the fields of agriculture, science, engineering, transport, and construction infrastructure.
There is a tendency of progressive growth of economy in Azerbaijan and I am sure that it attracts more and more investors, including those from China. I guess they could do more for the economic development of Azerbaijan.
Question: At present Chinese companies are actively involved in oil production in Azerbaijan. Are the Chinese investors still interested in the development of new oil and gas fields in Azerbaijan?
Answer: At present China produces approximately 200 million tons of crude a year. However, this volume is insufficient for rapid development of the countrys economy. Azerbaijan possesses rich oil and gas reserves. The energy cooperation between China and Azerbaijan meets both countries interests, which is the positive aspect for maintenance of bilateral cooperation. At present big and influential oil and companies of China, as SNPC and SINOPEC, which possess high-technological level set up business in Azerbaijan.
To speak frankly, the volume of cooperation is not sufficient for the time being. China is keen on expansion of cooperation and its further deepening. We hope very much to see the cooperation in the energy sector to be in speedy progress.