Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko to visit China; trip to ‘boost cooperation, friendship’
Published: Feb 25, 2023 02:10 PM Updated: Feb 25, 2023 07:25 PM
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko Photo: VCG

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko Photo: VCG

At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko will pay a state visit to China from February 28 to March 2, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying announced on Saturday.

Cooperation with a focus on post-pandemic economic recovery and Russia-Ukraine conflict could be key topics during his visit, experts said.

Hua did release any details about the upcoming visit.

The visit comes at a very special time as China is comprehensively promoting economic recovery following its COVID-19 policy optimization and is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Cui Heng, an assistant research fellow from the Center for Russian Studies of East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Saturday that the visit will focus on economic recovery and upgrading China-Belarus cooperation that had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past three years, which includes the China-Belarus Industrial Park and the two sides' cooperation on heavy-duty truck construction.

The lingering Russia-Ukraine military conflict will also be discussed as it has led to an increasingly tense relationship between the West and Russian as well as West and Belarus, Cui predicted, noting that, given the situation, practical cooperation with China means a lot to Belarus.

In a recent interview with the Xinhua News Agency, Lukashenko said that no problem in the world can be resolved without China nowadays, according to Belarusian news agency BelTA.

On Friday, China issued a 12-point position paper on the Russia-Ukraine conflict and called for a cessation of hostilities and resumption of peace talks, and an end to unilateral sanctions and Cold War mentality.

If the world does not listen to China's stance in this manner, it will have serious consequences, Lukashenko reportedly said during his interview with Chinese media.

Belarus was among the first countries to support and participate in China-initiated Belt and Road Initiative. The China-Belarus Industrial Park, being a major successful and pragmatic project, has often been referred to the "pearl of the Silk Road Economic Belt."

China and Belarus agreed to upgrade bilateral relations to all-weather comprehensive strategic partnership, following a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Lukashenko on the sidelines of the 22nd meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, in September 2022.

The move made Belarus China's second all-weather strategic partner, following Pakistan, which has been an all-weather strategic cooperation partner of China since 2015.

Belarus is also in its last mile of the process to become an official member of SCO.

Belarus is located at the junction of Europe and Russia, through which most of the pipelines and railway lines connecting Russia and Europe have to pass. The country serves as a gateway hub connecting Asia and Europe.