Posted: 28.02.2023 11:26:00

Lukashenko explained why he was main lobbyist of China's policy at the dawn of independence

In an interview with Chinese media, President Aleksandr Lukashenko explained why he was the main lobbyist of China's policy at the dawn of Belarus' independence. Xinhua’s head of the correspondent office in Belarus, Lu Jinbo, noted that China was very much looking forward to Aleksandr Lukashenko's visit – especially considering that, in September 2022, a joint declaration of the Republic of Belarus and the People's Republic of China on the establishment of relations of all-weather and comprehensive strategic partnership was adopted in Samarkand. With this in view, the Belarusian leader was asked about his assessment of the bilateral relations.

The Head of State recalled that his first visit to China as President took place in 1995, “Actually, it happened almost immediately after my election as President, after the first Presidential elections in Belarus, after gaining sovereignty and independence. I went to China then, and it was no coincidence.”

The Belarusian leader then continued, saying that – as a member of Parliament – he visited China, where he learnt how free economic zones operate and what benefits they produce for the state. Moreover, Aleksandr Lukashenko admitted that, after his visit, ‘he was the main lobbyist of China's policy’ in Parliament.

“Then, rather intuitively, I felt that China would become one of the leading powers in the world in just a couple of decades. We need to learn from China how to live. We made a big mistake by destroying our common country: the Soviet Union. At that time, we did not listen to the advice and experience of China, destroyed the country both politically and economically. It was necessary to hold the ground then – refraining from a civil war on the territory of the Soviet Union, from any war in general. In Belarus, we were looking for different paths,” the President said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko added that he then proposed to turn to China’s experience, but he was criticised by representatives of the nationalist wing of Parliament. Meanwhile, the Government already had an interest in developing relations at that time.

The Head of State recalled his first visit by saying, “China set itself an ambitious task. It was not yet such a China then as it is now. Almost thirty years have passed since then. Actually, I saw how much your people (in cities and villages I visited) wanted to get out of the situation they were in. You were then full of determination.”

The Chinese experience was learned, and several free economic zones were created in Belarus. Later, the Great Stone Chinese–Belarusian Industrial Park opened. “We went even further than China organised it back then – in terms of legislation and taxes. However, everything was based on China’s experience. That was the first step, the first experience of learning more of China. I established myself in the understanding that we should definitely use the experience of the People's Republic of China, the experience that can be applied in Belarus. Much was possible then, and we took advantage of that,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.