Xi Welcomes Belarus President Lukashenko For Diplomatic Meeting

On Monday, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko held his second meeting this year with China’s leader Xi Jinping in Beijing. The diplomatically isolated leader highlighted his country’s economic connections with the Asian giant, particularly in the face of stringent Western sanctions.

Lukashenko, a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, undertook a working visit to the Chinese capital. Xi received him at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, where they engaged in a working lunch and three hours of discussions, as reported by Belarusian state media.

Lukashenko, who has held the presidency in Belarus since 1994, supported Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 by permitting Moscow to utilize Belarusian territory for launching the war. However, he is grappling with an impaired economy that heavily depends on trade with Russia.

According to the Chinese state news agency Xinhua, Xi told Lukashenko, “China is willing to continue to strengthen strategic cooperation with Belarus, promote practical cooperation, and deepen bilateral relations.”

Xi said, “The two sides should implement projects like the China-Belarus Industrial Park and promote more achievements in China-Belarus industrial cooperation.”

In 2021, China, the world’s second-largest economy, ranked as Belarus’ seventh-largest trading partner, according to U.N. Comtrade data.

Prior to the conflict in Ukraine, China served as Belarus’ second-largest import partner. However, the Eastern European country’s imports from China were approximately three-quarters less than those from Russia.

Lukashenko emphasized the potential for expanding his country’s economic connections with China, as reported by Belarusian state media. He commended the more than 120 reciprocal visits undertaken by Chinese and Belarusian delegations since their last meeting in March.

Xi conveyed to Lukashenko the importance of enhancing cross-border transport facilitation and advancing economic and trade initiatives.

Belarus is subject to sanctions from the United States, European Union, Britain, Canada, the Netherlands, and several other nations due to its backing of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and longstanding concerns related to political repression.

According to Belarusian state media, Lukashenko informed Xi that the global community would express gratitude to China for its endeavors in incorporating nations into the Belt and Road Initiative, in contrast to Western nations attempting to fragment everything.

Xi proposed strengthening coordination and collaboration between China and Belarus in multilateral mechanisms such as the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Xi said, “China and Belarus are pivotal forces in the reform and construction of the global governance system.”