MINSK, 28 February (BelTA) – Belarus highly appreciates the high level of cooperation with China, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said in an interview with Chinese media, BelTA has learned.
When asked about the state and prospects for relations between the two countries, the head of state recalled their history and his first visit to China. "I traveled to China when I was member of parliament. I was interested in free economic zones, their legal regimes, the benefits they might bring to the state," he said. “In the parliament I was the main lobbyist (as they say now) for cooperation with China. The visit validated this conviction of mine. Then, rather intuitively, I felt that just in a couple of decades China would become one of the world's powerhouses and that we needed to learn from China."
The visit took place just after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and Belarus was looking for ways out of the difficult situation in which it found itself. "I proposed to turn to the experience of China. The Belarusian parliament, especially its nationalist wing, did not listen to this much, and I was strongly criticized for this. But the government (led by Vyacheslav Kebich then) already had some ties with your country," Aleksandr Lukashenko said. Then, according to him, the belief of the need to tap into the Chinese experience grew stronger especially since Belarus, already sovereign and independent, had something to offer to that country.
"In the Soviet Union, the technological level, the level of innovation, new ideas was enormous. Belarus was the center of new technologies. Back then all our negotiations were not only about trade, but primarily about investment and new technologies. China was interested in any new technology. We shared the technologies that the Chinese people and the state were interested in. Looking ahead, I will say that today it is Belarus who is learning new technologies from China: from biotechnology to defense. You've made significant progress. Since then, you have become the world's major power. Not a single problem can be resolved without you," the Belarusian leader said.
The president expects that there will be no obstacles from China in this process. "We didn't spare anything for China then. It is China's turn to help us. First of all, I mean new areas of cooperation - Great Stone. We are waiting for more companies from China, high-tech enterprises to register with the park," he said.
According to the head of state, the further development of the Belarusian National Biotechnology Corporation (BNBC) is of great interest to Belarus. "This is a joint venture. We have completed two stages. We need a third one - the launch of a vitamins production facility. I think that Xi Jinping will help us in this regard. Why I say Xi Jinping, because it was only thanks to his decision that this program became possible. Four or five states in the world have such industries. China helped us create such a biotechnology corporation. These are the highest technologies," the president said.
Over the years of fruitful joint work, cooperation between Belarus and China has risen to the level of an all-weather and comprehensive strategic partnership. "There are very few states with which China has such a level of cooperation. We appreciate this very much, given the difference between the giant China and our Belarus. We appreciate it very much," Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed. “We have been a reliable friend of the Chinese people in recent decades. And we will always remain so. Not only because I am the president in Belarus. Other presidents will stick to this policy, because it is what our people want. Our people, especially during the period of sanctions from the West, understood who is who and appreciated the friendship of the Belarusian and Chinese peoples."