New opportunities for mutual interests

Chinese leadership appreciates good ties and friendship with Belarus

The President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, is due to visit Belarus in May, with both sides now thoroughly preparing for a full programme of meetings. These will follow some of the proposals voiced during Mr. Lukashenko’s recent meeting with the Head of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang Yi.

Mr. Wang Yi conveyed warm greetings from President Xi Jinping, as well as from the Prime Minister of the State Council, and other Chinese officials. He noted, “We know that you, personally, pay consistent attention to the further development of co-operation with China, as a top priority of Belarusian foreign policy, which we highly appreciate.” He stressed Belarus’ stability, and the peace and friendship enjoyed by its people, while praising the role of Belarus in the recent Minsk agreements regarding the Ukrainian crisis.

Development of interaction with China is a priority for our foreign policy, featuring regular exchange visits at top level: Mr. Lukashenko has visited China seven times and interest is mutual. Beijing views our country as a strategic and long-term partner, often sending high ranking Chinese officials to our country, resulting in mutual trade in goods and services reaching approximately $4.5bn. Moreover, our country has received $5.5bn in Chinese loans, with funding targeting two dozen investment projects in power engineering, construction, and transport infrastructure. Such collaboration is worth its weight in gold, and has been largely due to efforts by Mr. Lukashenko.

“We highly appreciate and are very proud of our relations with great China. Our partnership is illustrative and exemplary across all areas. Our views on major world problems coincide and Belarus and China always support each other within the international arena. We’re grateful to you for this,” noted Mr. Lukashenko.

Challenges remain, such as balancing export-import flow in mutual trade, which isn’t yet in our favour. We need to jointly determine a list of Belarusian-made goods in which China may be interested.

Moreover, Belarus seeks a move from credit co-operation to investment interaction. The Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park (currently under construction) is a sure shift in the right direction, aiming to attract investments into the Belarusian economy from major world brands. The leadership of China will facilitate the strongest Chinese companies taking up residency at the Park and Mr. Lukashenko is keen to support the arrival of Chinese banks, aiding mutual collaboration. The Economic Belt Silk Road is another great Chinese initiative liable to benefit Belarus, with Beijing recognising us as an important partner, thanks to our geographical location.

By Vasily Kharitonov
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