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State visit: Lukashenko and Xi want to expand cooperation

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Belarusian ruler Lukashenko is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Now, during his visit to Beijing, he is seeking to close ranks with Xi Jinping.

China and Belarus want to further strengthen their relations. The friendship between the two countries is “unbreakable,” said Chinese head of state and party leader Xi Jinping on Wednesday, according to Chinese state television, at a meeting with Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko in Beijing.

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China is willing to work with Belarus “to promote the healthy and stable development of bilateral relations at a high level,” Xi said. Lukashenko also advocated further cooperation and praised the Chinese President effusively: “I firmly believe that China will continue to achieve new and brilliant successes under the strong leadership of President Xi Jinping”.

The visit of the ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin comes a few days after the presentation of the Chinese position paper on the Ukraine conflict. It was met with international disappointment, as it revealed no new initiative to end the war. Rather, China is demonstrating its continued support for Putin. According to Chinese information, Lukashenko supported Beijing’s paper on Wednesday. The Chinese state broadcaster CCTV quoted him as saying that he “fully supports China’s proposals”.

hope for cooperation

At the start of his talks, Lukashenko met with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang on Wednesday. During his visit, he hoped for the expansion of economic cooperation with the second-largest economy and for investments from China.

According to Chinese customs figures, trade between the two countries rose by 33 percent to five billion US dollars last year. He is also interested in China’s defense industry, Lukashenko told the Chinese news agency Xinhua. “We’re already learning from China’s new technologies that interest us. This affects all sectors from biotechnology to national defense.”

Xi and Lukashenko last met on the sidelines of the China-Russia-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in September in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Both sides see themselves as “comprehensive strategic partners”. Belarus wants to join the organization and expects to join this year. Founded in 2001, the group includes China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and, more recently, Iran. Belarus still has observer status.

Lukashenko’s visit follows Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s visit to Beijing two weeks ago. Both sides had also declared that they wanted to expand military cooperation.

Source: Stern

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