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Chinese President Xi receives Belarusian dictator

Chinese President Xi Jinping received Belarusian dictator Alyaksandr Lukashenka in Beijing on Wednesday. The Chinese leader said his country was willing to work with Belarus to promote what he termed bilateral relations at the highest level, state media reported.

“Given the instability and turbulence of the international situation, China is actively inclined to continue to apply joint efforts with Belarus in order to strengthen mutual political trust and practical co-operation in the interests of dynamic, healthy, and sustainable development of bilateral relations,” said Xi.

Xi also said China and Belarus should support each other in “safeguarding their own core interests, oppose interference by external forces in internal affairs, and safeguard the sovereignty, and political security of the two countries.”

Belarus has been heavily sanctioned following the Russian invasion of Ukraine after the Minsk regime enabled Russian armed forces to use Belarusian territory as a staging ground for the failed offensive meant to conquer Kyiv from the north. In that context, it is clear that “interference by external forces in internal affairs” referred to Western sanctions, and not to Minsk’s dependence on Moscow.

Earlier on Wednesday, during a meeting with China’s top legislator, Li Zhanshu, Lukashenka stressed that “Minsk has supported and will continue to support Beijing in all sensitive issues”.

The dictator condemned “the actions aimed at heightening tensions around Taiwan” and said that Belarus has always “strongly opposed any foreign interference in the internal affairs of the People’s Republic of China”. In that, he obviously did not mean Beijing’s aggressive posturing attempting to threaten the island nation, but rather Western support for Taipei’s sovereignty.

Lukashenka also stressed that “Minsk has supported and will continue to support Beijing in all sensitive issues, including those of Xinjiang, the South China Sea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.”

In Xinjiang, China is engaged in genocide against the province’s local Muslim population, in the South China Sea Beijing is embroiled in multilateral disputes over territorial waters, and in Hong Kong, a former British colony, the central government brutally cracked down on democratic protests.

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Lukashenka and the Chinese head of state signed a joint statement firming up the further development of an “all-weather” and comprehensive strategic partnership between the countries, according to state media. They have already announced their intent to enter into a “strategic partnership”, in order to step-up bilateral ties. China signed a “no-limits” partnership with Belarus’ close ally Russia just before Moscow sent tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine a year ago.

On Wednesday, China and Belarus also signed a number of bilateral cooperation documents in economy and trade, industry, agriculture, science and technology, health, tourism, and sports, Xinhua News reported.

On Monday, February 27, U.S. State Department identified Lukashenka’s visit as an “example of how Beijing is deepening engagements with Russia over the conflict in Ukraine”.

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