Chinese President Xi Jinping and Alexander Lukashenko hailed strengthening ties on Monday, as they held talks during the Belarusian leader’s second trip to Beijing this year.
Lukashenko, a staunch ally of Russia, arrived in China on Sunday for a visit expected to last at least two days.
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Lukashenko last came to China in February, a trip that drew scrutiny given Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Belarus is, was and will be a reliable partner for China,” Lukashenko told Xi on Monday, according to a readout of the talks from the office of the Belarusian presidency.
“We decided long ago that we would cooperate... and be friends with China,” he said.
“This friendship is more than 30 years old and has never turned away from this path.”
Xi, in turn, said “political mutual trust” and “international collaboration” between the two countries had grown stronger since Lukashenko’s last visit, according to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV.
China “firmly supports Belarus in taking the path of development in line with its national conditions, and opposes interference by external forces in the internal affairs of Belarus,” Xi said.
“The Chinese side is willing to continue to strengthen strategic cooperation with the Belarusian side, firmly support each other, [and] promote pragmatic cooperation,” Xi added.
Beijing has not publicly condemned Russia’s offensive despite pressure from the United States and other Western nations.
Belarus relies heavily on Russia for political and financial support, and was used as a launchpad for Moscow’s assault against Ukraine in February 2022.
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