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10 March 2023, 09:28

Chinese ambassador names three aspects of all-weather cooperation with Belarus

An archive photo
An archive photo

Mr Ambassador, how do you assess the results of the Belarusian-Chinese meetings and negotiations at the highest level?

On 28 February to 2 March 2023, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko traveled to China on a state visit at the invitation of President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping.

President Xi Jinping, Premier of the State Council Li Keqiang and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Li Zhanshu held talks and meetings with President Aleksandr Lukashenko. The parties had an in-depth exchange of views and came to a consensus across the entire spectrum of Chinese-Belarusian cooperation and also the issues of mutual interest on the international and regional agenda.

I would like to present the outcome of the talks between the heads of the two States in terms of three aspects.

First, the political mutual trust between China and Belarus has been further strengthened. During the talks, the heads of state fully demonstrated the high level of political mutual trust between China and Belarus. Xi Jinping stressed that China and Belarus have a strong unbreakable friendship, both sides should firmly support each other in pursuing the chosen paths of development and protecting fundamental interests, oppose interference in internal affairs from the outside, and defend state sovereignty and political security.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also said that the friendship between the peoples of the two countries is unfailing, the people of Belarus will firmly stand by China under any circumstances. Belarus unswervingly supports China's efforts to protect its own key interests, resolutely supports and takes an active part in the Belt and Road Initiative, the Global Security Initiative and the Global Development Initiative put forward by Xi Jinping.

Following the talks, the heads of the two states signed the joint statement of the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Belarus on the further development of relations of all-weather and comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries in the new era, which sets the course for the development of Chinese-Belarusian relations and will undoubtedly bring even more benefits to the two countries and their peoples.

Secondly, the Chinese-Belarusian practical cooperation has grown even deeper. "Cooperation" is one of the most frequently used words by the presidents of China and Belarus. At the ceremony after the talks, in the presence of the heads of the two states, the parties signed 17 bilateral documents on cooperation in such areas as economy and trade, industry, agriculture, customs, science and technology, healthcare, tourism, sports, interregional relations and so on.

President Xi Jinping noted that China and Belarus should fully tap into the potential of the Chinese-Belarusian intergovernmental committee on cooperation and expand trade and economic cooperation. It is necessary to unlock the potential of the Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park. In the context of the joint construction of the Belt and Road, there is a need to promote interconnectedness, including along the China-Europe route. In addition, it is necessary to deepen cooperation in the field of healthcare, expand regional ties and step up cultural and humanitarian exchange in order to strengthen the solid social framework of Chinese-Belarusian friendship.

Aleksandr Lukashenko fully concurred with this and expressed Belarus' readiness to make joint efforts to strengthen cooperation with China in science and technology, industry, agriculture, tourism, and promote the China-Europe container train and Great Stone Park projects. The Belarusian side also welcomes the investments of Chinese enterprises in Belarus, intends to increase interregional and humanitarian exchanges.

Thirdly, international cooperation between China and Belarus has become even closer. President Xi Jinping noted that the world is going through dramatic transformations, the biggest in this century, and we still have a lot to do to maintain world peace and promote common development. China and Belarus are advocates of international justice and equality. China highly appreciates Belarus' support for the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative. It is interested in strengthening coordination and interaction with Belarus in the UN and other multilateral platforms, jointly countering global challenges and building the Community of Common Destiny for Mankind.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that China is a pillar of world peace. Belarus is ready to strengthen coordination with China on major international and regional issues, to join forces to maintain international and regional security and stability.

The two heads of state exchanged views on the Ukrainian crisis and other international issues. Xi Jinping noted that China's position on this crisis is consistent and clear, it is laid out in China's peace proposal. The essence of this proposal is to bring parties to the negotiating table. It is vital to remain committed to a political settlement, to discard a Cold War mentality, to respect objective security concerns of all countries, and to create a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture in Europe. Individual states must stop politicizing and instrumentalizing the world economy; they must take effective steps to promote a ceasefire and a peaceful resolution of the crisis.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that Belarus is on the same page with China regarding the approaches to the settlement of the Ukrainian crisis. The two countries believe that the crisis should be resolved by political means. China and Belarus project into the world the image of responsible countries.

Which of the agreements reached do you consider the most important?

Among the documents on cooperation signed by the two sides, the most important, of course, is the joint declaration on the further development of an all-weather comprehensive strategic partnership in a new era. This is the main outcome of the talks between the two heads of state, and it will shape the development of China-Belarus relations in the future.

The joint declaration covers many areas of cooperation, such as politics, economy and trade, finance, manufacturing, agriculture, transportation, logistics, inter-regional relations, traditional Chinese medicine, culture, education, tourism, science and technology, national defense, justice, law enforcement and security, disaster prevention and response, emergency rescue operations, environmental protection and so on. The document reflects the strategic, comprehensive and all-weather nature of China-Belarus cooperation and can be described as an action plan for a deeper cooperation between China and Belarus in various areas.

What makes this document so remarkable is that it reaffirms the consensus on bilateral cooperation. We see that in recent years, China and Belarus have maintained close cooperation and achieved significant and appreciable results in various fields.

For example, a high-tech full-cycle agro-industrial production facility was put into operation in November 2022. The project is run by the Belarusian National Biotechnology Corporation (BNBC). The facility was built by a Chinese company using a Chinese soft loan. It became the country's first company to produce amino acids. It is also the first export oriented and import substitution project in the field of deep grain processing.

A number of projects set up jointly by Chinese and Belarusian companies, such as the production of Geely cars, Weichai engines, FAST gearboxes, and Midea Horizont, have brought Belarus a large number of jobs and good economic benefits. They have also successfully filled gaps in the relevant industries in Belarus and significantly expanded the country's industrial and agricultural production potential.

The joint statement stresses that the two parties will develop industrial cooperation on the basis of equality, mutual benefit and market principles, promote the modernization and transformation of traditional industries in Belarus, strengthen cooperation between enterprises on components and raw materials, and carry out joint production, taking advantage of China's advanced technology.

In agriculture, China has provided many facilities for Belarusian agricultural products to enter the Chinese market in recent years, including accelerated market access permits and registration of other related procedures. Today, ecologically clean and high-quality agricultural products from Belarus appear on the tables of an increasing number of Chinese families and are very popular with Chinese consumers. The adopted joint statement notes that both parties emphasize the importance of production and supplies of agricultural products and will continue supporting supplies of high-quality agricultural products from China and Belarus to each other's markets.

It can be expected that the scale of agricultural trade between China and Belarus will expand in the future. In the field of medicine, China and Belarus have united to fight COVID-19 during the pandemic, and medical cooperation between the two countries has made great progress. Belarus has passed laws and other documents concerning the use of traditional Chinese medicine, recognized the qualifications of its practitioners and academic degrees in this field, and provided great assistance to Chinese medical companies in opening production facilities in Belarus. The development of traditional Chinese medicine in Belarus has achieved new successes. During the talks with the Belarusian president, the president of the People's Republic of China emphasized the need to deepen cooperation between the two countries in medicine and healthcare.

The joint statement also emphasizes the importance of traditional Chinese medicine projects in the Great Stone. China is ready to strengthen in-depth cooperation with Belarus in this area, so that the results will benefit the people of the two countries and make an even greater contribution to the healthcare of mankind.

I am confident that government agencies and society in China and Belarus will work together to implement the important agreements reached by the two heads of state to promote the development of China-Belarus all-weather and all-round strategic partnership.

Mr. Ambassador, could you please tell us whether we can expect an increase in flights between Belarus and China?

Following the COVID-19 outbreak, even during the peak of the pandemic restrictions, direct flights between China and Belarus were not cancelled (there were only a few interruptions), which played an active role in ensuring human exchanges between the two countries.

A joint statement signed by the two heads of state notes that both parties encourage airlines of the two countries to increase the number of direct flights from Belarus to China in a timely manner in accordance with market principles.

I am confident that with the further improvement of the epidemic situation, the continuous build-up of Chinese-Belarusian practical cooperation, foreign student exchanges and human communication, more and more passengers will use direct flights between China and Belarus. The Chinese government fully supports increasing the number of flights between China and Belarus. Both parties can agree on the specific time according to the technical conditions and market principle.

Tourism was also among the topics discussed at the highest level in Beijing. Are tourist routes in Belarus interesting for Chinese citizens?

During the visit an agreement on cooperation in tourism was signed between the Chinese Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Belarusian Sports and Tourism Ministry in the presence of the two heads of state. The parties agreed to jointly take measures to further advance cooperation.

It is very important that there are direct flights between China and Belarus, and Chinese citizens with ordinary passports can stay in Belarus for 30 days as part of the visa-free travel program. When the Chinese and Belarusians travel to each other's country, they can not only enjoy the beauty of natural landscapes and have different cultural experiences, but also strengthen mutual understanding and traditional friendship, which is fully endorsed by China.

I believe that China and Belarus have great potential for cooperation in tourism and I expect more breakthroughs in this area in the future.

You mentioned the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative. Could you elaborate on cooperation between Belarus and China in these areas?

As I said, during the talks Aleksandr Lukashenko said that Belarus strongly supports and actively participates in the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative launched by Xi Jinping. Xi Jinping also said that China appreciates Belarus' support of these initiatives and is ready to strengthen coordination and cooperation with Belarus in the United Nations Organization and other multilateral platforms to jointly meet global challenges and create the Community of Common Destiny for Mankind.

Belarus and China are unanimous in believing that development is an important driving force for the prosperity of all countries and have agreed to further strengthen cooperation in key areas to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Both sides are committed to close coordination on regional and global security matters and have agreed to enhance cooperation within the framework of the Global Security Initiative, jointly counter such global challenges as terrorism, climate change, cybersecurity and biosecurity. A memorandum of understanding between the China International Development Cooperation Agency and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus on strengthening cooperation in implementing the Global Development Initiative was also signed in the presence of the two heads of state.

I would like to draw your attention to the fact that ever since the Chinese president launched the Global Development Initiative in September 2021 and the Global Security Initiative in April 2022, countries all over the world, including Belarus, have been paying great attention to them and responding actively. Your country has also joined the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative at China's invitation, for which the Chinese side commends you.

China has recently formulated and published a concept paper on the Global Security Initiative, which explains in detail its significance.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also issued a document titled as “China's position on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis," which systematically presents China's position on the Ukrainian crisis and formulates 12 proposals for its political resolution. The document has been widely welcomed and supported by the international community, including Belarus.

China is ready to pool efforts with all peace-loving and happiness-seeking countries and peoples all over the world, including Belarus, in implementing the global development and global security initiatives, promoting common development, and jointly defending peace and tranquility on our common planet Earth, in order to build together a better future for humanity.



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