Posted: 06.10.2023 12:16:00

Shevtsov: everything connected with China becoming more relevant for Belarus

The strategy for co-operation with China was determined in Belarus a long time ago, but today the work is being carried out under new conditions – as noted by Director of the Centre for European Integration, political scientist Yuri Shevtsov in his talk with Alfa Radio

According to the expert, nothing extraordinary is happening in Belarus-China relations today.

“The strategy of relations with China itself was determined a long time ago, and it is now being implemented. Belarus is keen to diversify its exports to China and increase them. In principle, our exports are still based on potash fertilisers, and China is a very important buyer of these products. We’re now working to expand the number of other product groups,” the political scientist underlined.

At the same time, he drew attention to the fact that the previously planned work is now being implemented under new conditions.

“New conditions are determined by the introduction of sanctions. Moreover, there are risks that Poland will block the New Silk Road due to its insane anti-Russian and anti-Chinese nationalism, so it is necessary to prepare for alternative options,” the speaker stated.

Yuri Shevtsov recalled that China has moved to a new development model since 2009.

“Until 2009, the PRC developed mainly coastal provinces, communicating primarily with the West via the ocean. After 2009, it began to develop the central and western provinces very quickly and intensively. This is what created the new situation with China. Now the entire territory of this country (and not just the coastal areas) has begun to turn into a zone of accelerated development. It is this process that affected us, too. While Chinese entire economy was primarily being facilitated by its coastal provinces, China was more of an abstraction for us,” said the expert.

According to him, after this, the Chinese – in the interests of the central and western provinces – began to stimulate the development of communications with adjacent countries, including Russia.

“An element of their interest was the New Silk Road, i.e., the modernisation of transport arteries between China and the EU. Since Ukraine and the Baltic States dropped out of this process, it turned out that we became a bottleneck in this Chinese direction. The New Silk Road is not an alternative to sea communications. This is an additional, secondary in scale, communication path. But for our small country this means a lot. Everything connected with China becomes more relevant for Belarus,” the political scientist added.