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Friday, June 23, 2000, updated at 08:34(GMT+8)

Chinese Top Legislator Meets Azerbaijani Prime Minister

Chinese Top Legislator Meets Azerbaijani Prime Minister
Visiting Chinese top legislator Li Peng met in Baku Thursday with Azerbaijani Prime Minister Artur Tair Rasi- Zade.

Li said China highly praised Azerbaijan's plan to build the " New Silk Road," a trading route which links Asia and Europe via Azerbaijan.

Li, chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress, said the two economies are highly complementary and that the two countries have great potential for cooperation in areas of oil, household appliance manufacturing and farm produce processing.

As the railway linking China's Xinjiang autonomous region and Kazakhstan has opened to traffic, Eastern, Central and Western Asia are now connected, Li said.

The "New Silk Road" has therefore taken shape and the question is how to utilize this transport resource effectively. The two sides might explore new ways of cooperation on the "New Silk Road, " Li added.

On the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, he said China supports Azerbaijan's independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

"China does not recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent state, nor the legitimacy of the just-ended parliamentary election in that area."

Li, who had studied and worked in Azerbaijan before, said, "Now, several decades later, I come here again and find everything intimate."

For his part, Rasi-Zade said, "The Azerbaijani people know your name very well and they look forward to your visit."

China is one of the countries which first recognized Azerbaijan's independence, the prime minister said.

He said Azerbaijan sticks to its "one China" Policy.

Rasi-Zade said his country hopes China can take part in the exploitation of Caspian Sea oil. Azerbaijan also hopes to cooperate with China in the building of the "New Silk Road", he said.

Li is on a six-nation tour, which has already taken him to Yugoslavia, Slovenia, Croatia and Slovakia. He will also tour Ukraine.

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Visiting Chinese top legislator Li Peng met with Azerbaijani Prime Minister Artur Tair Rasi- Zade.

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