Belarus and China: Relations further enhanced
Grigory Mityushnikov
National flags of Belarus and China. /CFP
National flags of Belarus and China. /CFP

National flags of Belarus and China. /CFP

Editor's note: Grigory Mityushnikov is a Belarusian journalist and deputy director of Radio Belarus Int. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

The state visit of Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko to Beijing made world news headlines. Chinese President Xi Jinping met with him on March 1.

The two leaders signed a joint statement on developing exemplary relations of all-weather and comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Belarus in the new era. It means that despite global changes, the countries stand committed to supporting each other on the world stage, respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity, strengthening resistance to political pressure, while paving the way to more intensive economic interaction.

The recent developments in Ukraine have become one of the key topics of the negotiations. A political settlement to the crisis and cessation of hostilities are the main principles our countries are advocating for. Belarus and China are more concerned about stability in the region than some European countries wielding Cold War rhetoric.

The political and economic mechanisms initiated by Xi are aimed to benefit both countries, as well as boost global prosperity. Accordingly, Belarus endorses China's Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiative.

This is Lukashenko's 13th visit to China, and while witnessing the country's development, he is impressed with China's progress in recent decades. Belarus is implementing some of China's know-hows, e.g. free economic zones.

"A meeting between old friends is always pleasing," Xi underlined in the welcoming speech. The talks lasted much longer than planned and resulted in the signing of many documents that would bolster ties in various spheres.

Bilateral relations have gone from strength to strength and were cemented with "all-weather and comprehensive strategic partnership" status, according to Chinese classification. Belarus plays a special role in China's foreign policy in the region and has proven to be a reliable partner that keeps its word and does its utmost to promote common strategic interests in both economic and political spheres. "Expansion of contacts with China is a priority in our foreign policy. Thanks to our joint efforts, the concept of comprehensive strategic partnership has acquired a special meaning in the relations between Belarus and China," said Lukashenko.

Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko arrives in Beijing, February 28, 2023. /CFP
Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko arrives in Beijing, February 28, 2023. /CFP

Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko arrives in Beijing, February 28, 2023. /CFP

Bilateral trade between the countries exceeded all the expectations soaring to almost $6 billion in 2021, and the uprising tendency persists. A medium-sized country, Belarus has become a key partner in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with its "pearl" in the shape of the Great Stone Industrial Park. The infrastructure project brings together 107 residents from all over the world with a $1.3 billion investment plan. 

It's often called the City of the Future due to its advanced production facilities, unique housing and administrative buildings, favorable business conditions. The Great Stone Industrial Park is a witness to cooperation between Chinese and Belarusian enterprises. The project couldn't have been realized without the political will of the two leaders that gave the green light to this initiative.

The green light is turned on for China's peacekeeping initiatives, too, which were welcomed in Belarus. Having offered to host talks on the peaceful resolution of the Ukrainian conflict immediately after the launch of the special military operation, Belarus favors fruitful diplomatic outcomes, but these expectations were shattered by a defiant Western attitude. 

Moreover, political and economic pressures on Belarus as Russia's closest ally have dramatically increased. That's why, when China weighed in on the conflict by calling on the two sides to cease hostilities, and later on published proposals on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis, it gave hope for positive shifts and cooled some hot heads.

According to Lukashenko, the initiative coincides with the Belarusian vision. "We immediately joined the mechanisms to promote it and are ready for joint preparation and implementation of projects in Belarus," he said. But it may not help with a cease fire in the immediate future, but such a position of a global player does matter. Even with the West dismissing the road map's importance and labeling the plan as "not credible," it's clear that this message has been taken into consideration.

The meeting has proven yet again that China-Belarus relations have stood the test of time.

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