Thursday, 23 March, 2023

China hails Belarus ties ahead of Lukashenko visit

China hails Belarus ties ahead of Lukashenko visit

BEIJING: China hailed its all-weather and comprehensive strategic partnership with Belarus on Monday, the day before a state visit by President Alexander Lukashenko to Beijing, reports AFP.

Lukashenko, who is visiting at the invitation of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, is a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin and has backed Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. Lukashenko’s three-day visit comes after China last week released a position paper on the conflict, reiterating its insistence it is a neutral party and calling for dialogue between the two sides.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations 31 years ago, the political mutual trust between (China and Belarus) has been continuously strengthened, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said Monday at a regular press briefing.

China looks forward to working with Belarus to take this visit as an opportunity to promote all-round cooperation between the two countries for further development.

Xi has spoken to Putin several times since the war began, but has not done so with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky.

Asked about Zelensky’s recent comment that he planned to meet Xi, Mao did not comment directly on a potential meeting.

We have been in constant communication with relevant parties including Ukraine, she said.

Belarus shares a border with both Ukraine and Russia, but is financially and politically dependent on the Putin administration.

It allowed Moscow to use its territory to launch its attack on Ukraine last year.

Kyiv has expressed concerns that Belarus could again support Moscow in its war effort.

In September last year, Xi and Lukashenko met in the Uzbek city of Samarkand, where they again hailed their all-weather partnership.