There is a Chinese saying: “岁寒知松柏，患难见真情” (suìhán zhī sōngbăi, huànnàn jiàn zhēnqíng), that means only when we get into trouble we do know who are our true friends.
30 years ago today the People’s Republic of China recognized the independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan. It was the day of December 27, 1991, which was just 70 days of the independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on April 2, 1992. The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to Azerbaijan was opened in August 1992 and the first Ambassador was appointed on December 1, 1993. The Embassy of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the PRC was opened on September 3, 1993. On January 12, 1994, the first Ambassador of Azerbaijan to China was appointed.
Since the day President Ilham Aliyev is the Chairman of the New Azerbaijan Party and came to the power, the party’s cooperation in the international arena has expanded. It has a long and strong friendship with the world’s leading parties. The Republic of Azerbaijan is having diplomatic relations with more than hundreds of countries and many of the key organizations of the world.
As a person with a Chinese higher education background (Master’s – Beijing Normal University; Ph.D. – Yanshan University), it is an honor to me to see a strong China – Azerbaijan friendship. The constant expansion of the international cooperation of the strongest and largest political organization of the region – the New Azerbaijan Party obviously makes me proud.
But what is the basis of the strong cooperation between the only 29-year-old ruling party of Azerbaijan, and the 100-year-old Chinese Communist Party, the world’s largest political organization that unites more than 90 million people?
When we look back to history, over 2,000 years ago, the ancient Silk Road has already connected China and Azerbaijan. Through long-term close exchanges, the people of the two nations have consistently learned from each other and built a profound bond. Both China and Azerbaijan are ancient Eastern nations with numerous cultural and traditional similarities, as well as national characteristics and values. Proud, patriotism, strong family values, respect for the old and young people, passion and hospitality, diligence and innocence, and more are the qualities shared by both Chinese and Azerbaijani people, delivered from generation to generation, and created the national cultural heritage which both nations will always be proud.
Today both countries have built a deeply political mutual trust and close exchanges in different areas. The Azerbaijan Government is supporting the One-China policy and China’s position on major issues concerning China’s core interests. The 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries is going to be celebrated in April 2022, and definitely, this historic milestone will provide more opportunities for further development of relations between China and Azerbaijan. A new historical stage of friendship will help both countries to deepen and increase mutual support and cooperation.
I could say that Azerbaijan’s national leader Heydar Aliyev’s historic visit to Beijing, which lasted from March 7 to March 10, 1994, unequivocally, is the basis for raising contemporary Azerbaijan-China friendship and partnership relations to today’s high level. 9 years after that important visit, President Ilham Aliyev’s visit to China again in March gave a new impetus to the development of bilateral cooperation. Later, President Ilham Aliyev visited China several times, which is an indication of the importance that official Baku attaches to cooperation with official Beijing.
If we look at more than 70 agreements, treaties, memoranda, protocols, and other official documents that have been signed between the two countries, we can get an idea of the scale of Azerbaijan-China cooperation. The most interesting thing is these documents have not only political or economic content but also cover all spheres of society.
In the summer of this year, President Ilham Aliyev and Chairman of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping had a telephone conversation and two leaders noted that during the COVID-19 pandemic both countries demonstrated a true friendship and overcame the difficulties with combined support. Considering strong friendly relations and cooperation between the Chinese Communist Party and New Azerbaijani Party, as well as special attitude to Azerbaijan, 10 thousand doses of vaccine by Central Committee of Chinese Communist Party has been sent to New Azerbaijan Party. In the telephone conversation Chairman of the People’s Republic of China has stressed a key point that from the very first days, Azerbaijan is an important partner in the fulfillment of the “One Belt One Road” initiative which is the Belt and Road Initiative now. In fact, both countries attach great importance to the successful continuation and implementation of this huge initiative. The efforts and close friendship of the heads of both states, common economic interests, the role of both countries in the restoration of the historical Silk Road, and other important factors have laid the foundation for strengthening mutual cooperation.
The Zangazur Corridor, which is one of the new realities after Azerbaijan’s historic victory in the 44-day Patriotic war, will further strengthen Azerbaijan’s potential as a transit country. Considerable growth in international freight traffic in the East-West route through this corridor will ensure the formation of a new multilateral cooperation platform in the region. Azerbaijan and China also shall be active participants. Today these two countries express mutual support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of each other.
Now, it would be great to say a few words about the path of the world’s largest political party – the Chinese Communist Party. As it is well known, in the 19th century, foreign powers were pursuing their economic interests in China and this point divided China into the spheres of influence of several armed forces. Therefore, in the early 20th century, the Chinese economy was lagging behind. Industrial centers were separated from the provinces, and peasants made up the majority of China’s population. After 1925-1927, the Chinese Communist Party tried to win over the peasants. The people were believing in this party. At the same time, Beijing was fighting against foreign aggression during the second Sino-Japanese War which began in 1937. Due to its success in the guerrilla war and the fundamental positive changes in the communist-controlled territories, the CCP gained the mass support of the people living in the provinces. After the defeat of Japan, the Communists won the civil war as well (1949). This victory was considered great because the rivals had a quantitative advantage and the United States was providing military assistance and support to them.
Today looking back over the last century, the Chinese Communist Party has unified and led the Chinese people to tremendous achievements in the new-democratic and socialist revolution, reforms, opening up, and socialist modernization, at the same time, for socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era. This is what exactly the general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, Xi Jinping said: “All the struggle, sacrifice and creation through which the Party has united and led the Chinese people over the past hundred years has been tied together by one ultimate theme – bringing about the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”.