Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko met with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang in Beijing on Wednesday. Until Thursday, the visit should also deal with the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and closer military cooperation.
Lukashenko is one of Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin's closest allies. China presented a position paper on the war in Ukraine last week. The visit program also includes a meeting between Lukashenko and head of state and party leader Xi Jinping. China and Belarus see themselves as "comprehensive strategic partners".
The Chinese position paper on the Ukraine war was met with international disappointment because it did not reveal any new initiative to settle the fighting. In fact, China was demonstrating that it was more likely to give Putin its backing. Russia uses military bases in neighboring Belarus for attacks on Ukraine. Lukashenko hopes that the visit to China will result in further investments from the world's second largest economy, including in the military field.
Interest in China's defense industry
According to Chinese figures, trade between the two countries rose by 33 percent last year to five billion US dollars. He is also interested in China's defense industry, Lukashenko told the Xinhua news agency. "We're already learning from China's new technologies that interest us. This affects all sectors from biotechnology to national defense." Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was also in Beijing two weeks ago. Both sides declared that they wanted to expand cooperation in the military field.
Xi Jinping and Lukashenko last met on the sidelines of a summit of the China-Russia-led Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in September in Uzbekistan. Belarus intends to join the organization this year. The group includes China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and, more recently, Iran. Belarus currently has observer status.