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31 May 2024, 13:00

Key takeaways from Belarusian delegation’s visit to China 

The Belarusian parliamentary delegation led by Chairperson of the Council of the Republic Natalya Kochanova wrapped up the official visit to the People's Republic of China. 

Our countries are not just strategic partners, but "iron brothers". Belarus and China demonstrate to the world community an example of strong, indestructible friendship and mutual trust. We have reached the highest level in relations primarily thanks to the leaders of our states - Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko and President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping.

For more than three decades, Belarus and China have been developing political, economic and humanitarian ties and have achieved an unprecedented level of comprehensive cooperation. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, trade has grown more than 200 times. In 2023, it rose by 30% to exceed $8 billion. The potential for growth has not been exhausted. The visit of the parliamentary delegation of Belarus to China is an opportunity to take stock of the current state of cooperation and outline new prospects and avenues.

During the visit, the High-Level Inter-Parliamentary Cooperation Committee held its first meeting. Its objectives were to deepen and strengthen the relations between the two states, to analyze the cooperation between the legislative bodies, and to make proposals and recommendations on cooperation in various fields. 

Belarus and China are united by a lot, Natalya Kochanova said during the meeting. “We have common moral values, which we jointly protect from external encroachments and attempts to replace them with alien concepts and values that destroy sovereign countries from within,” Natalya Kochanova noted. "All this provides a reliable foundation for the successful development of interstate relations, the inter-parliamentary dialogue," the speaker stated.

The speaker of the Council of the Republic noted that the first meeting of the committee was an important milestone in the history of Belarusian-Chinese parliamentarism. "We attach great importance to the role that the High-Level Committee can play in strengthening interstate and inter-parliamentary dialogue and promoting the effective implementation of the agreements reached by the parties at the highest and high levels," Natalya Kochanova stressed.

Belarus aspires to become a full member of BRICS and counts on China's support in this matter. This topic was also discussed at a high level. “Belarus and China interact in international and regional organizations. We have the same views on most issues of the international agenda. Belarus strongly supports the One China principle and backs the Chinese side in the issues of Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Tibet, Taiwan, as well as in the issue of the South China Sea within the framework of the Non-Aligned Movement. We appreciate China’s support for Belarus’ aspirations to become a full-fledged member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). We hope that this can happen as early as July this year,” Natalya Kochanova noted. “We also attach great importance to Belarus’ accession to the BRICS format, an organization that we consider one of the most important unifying platforms in matters of ensuring global security, sustainable development and economic cooperation.” 

The speaker emphasized that Belarus’ delegation plans to take part in the BRICS Parliamentary Forum that will be held in St. Petersburg in July this year. Natalya Kochanova suggested holding a meeting of parliamentarians from Belarus and China on the sidelines of this event. 

The visit of the Belarusian delegation to China gave a boost to inter-parliamentary interaction. During her meeting with Vice President of the People's Republic of China Han Zheng, the Belarusian senator pointed to significant progress in cooperation between parliamentarians of Belarus and the PRC. In 2023, an inter-parliamentary agreement was concluded between the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus and the National People's Congress of China. And the establishment of the China-Belarus High-Level Interparliamentary Cooperation Committee gave an additional impetus to cooperation between the legislative bodies of the two countries.
This year and next year will be the Years of Science, Technology and Innovation of Belarus and China. At present the parties are working on a cooperation plan that will take academic collaborations to a completely new level. Ministries and government agencies are actively working to draft an ambitious cooperation plan “Belarus - China: Partnership 2030” that will feature ambitious joint projects, the speaker noted. “We are actively involved in the implementation of the 8-steps plan put forward by Chairman of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping in October 2023 that seeks to promote the Belt and Road Initiative,” emphasized the chairperson of the Council of the Republic. 

Natalya Kochanova put forward specific proposals that will significantly advance cooperation between public associations and youth organizations of the two countries. In particular, during the meeting with President of the All-China Women's Federation Shen Yiqin, the speaker proposed creating a council of women of Belarus and China.

“It is important for us to implement the agreements and decisions that were adopted earlier by our heads of state, governments, public organizations,” the speaker stressed. “I suggest considering the issue of setting up a Council of Women under our (my and your) patronage. The Council will monitor the implementation of the tasks set by the heads of state. At the same time, we can work more effectively at this level, including addressing the tasks of preserving peace and tranquility in our countries, as well as considering the women's agenda of Belarus and China.” 
In addition, the chairperson of the Council of the Republic suggested organizing a Belarusian-Chinese youth tourist camp. “Cooperation in education and youth policy is undoubtedly another priority in our joint work, on the results of which the wellbeing and sustainable development of our states depend,” Natalya Kochanova added. “We share the same view on the importance of cultivating a sense of national pride and patriotism among young people. In this context, it is advisable to encourage active interaction between the youth organizations of Belarus and China.”
During the visit, the Belarusian MPs got familiar with the social infrastructure facilities in Beijing. When visiting the Chaoyang Hospital, the speaker stressed that the development of cooperation with China in healthcare was one of the priorities for Belarus. “It covers various areas, including supplies of high-tech Chinese-made medical equipment to Belarus, localization of production of Chinese medical devices and medicines in Belarus, modernization of existing pharmaceutical production facilities using modern Chinese technologies, cooperation between healthcare institutions,” the speaker stressed. “We know how well-developed the pharmaceutical industry in China is today. We are grateful to China for the support provided to us during the COVID-19 epidemic. Belarus and China are interested in developing interaction in this area, discussing new projects and areas of cooperation.”
The official visit ended with a tour of the museum dedicated to the history of the Communist Party of China in Beijing. The exposition offers a video chronicle of several foreign visits of China President Xi Jinping, including footage from 2015 when he visited the Republic of Belarus. 
Natalya Kochanova thanked Chinese colleagues for the organization of the visit and remarked that the parliamentarians would start working to fulfill the bilateral arrangements upon return to Minsk. 
BelTAPhotos courtesy of the Council of the Republic
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